Tag Archives: inspiration


The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos

I just got this a little while ago, in large part to having read Tom Ang’s enlightening “how to win photo competitions” post – and also because I just got an email from National Geographic telling me I’m close to getting this shot published in an issue of their “your shot” issue.


It really got me thinking about what it takes to take a truly great photo and it’s actually very simple. Here’s the real secret:

Show people something they’ve never seen before

If you think back to a photo that really inspired you or moved you, it was probably a photo of something that you’ve never seen before. Or it was a photo of something you have seen – but captured in a really unique way that you’ve never seen before.

There are billions of photos out there of people posing in front of things, there are billions of photos out there of places and things – and they all eventually fade together – but what makes a photograph really spectacular is something that captures attention.

This is why I love HDR, tiltshift, fisheye shots, and anything else that’s just different from the norm. You don’t even have to go anywhere to take a spectactular shot – just look around wherever you are and DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

To help you get started thinking in the right direction, here are 10 ideas:

1. use shadows

2. get closeup

3. capture patterns

4. use long exposure

5. get low

6. blur it

blurred Ineta

7. use lots of empty space in your composition

8. use reflections

9. capture motion

10. get down, look up

And that’s not even scratching the surface – there are plenty more resources for taking unique, interesting, and creative photos.  Not often discussed, but perhaps equally important if you are planning to do this as a business is to make sure copyrights are set in place as well.  A great resource to gather information on how to do this properly is www.mydefence.ca

While I’m mentioning resources, I should say that when I established my company, I had many questions on the business side of things, since my background was on the creative side. I found a great book at garybizzo.com that really helped me with the business side so I could focus on the artistic/creative side.

Anyway, all that said,  go out there and capture something truly unique.


The Simplest and Most Powerful Way to Create Art

The following is a guest post by my sister Ineta McParland, who who inspires me with her ability to see beauty in the smallest of forms with her pictures of animals and nature in Sarasota, FL.

a family of deer
photo credit: aneye4wonder

We are visual creatures. We rely mainly on our vision to survive in this world. We see pictures everywhere. In fact, we are inundated with pictures: printed, on TV, real life – constantly moving and changing. Everybody makes pictures: from drawing and painting to making graphs, having images in our minds to taking photos. Art is everywhere.

Yet from all the images that we see everyday, sometimes one stops you in the tracks, makes you think and takes your breath away. It could be a painting, a drawing, a photograph, or some other creation. Not only does the beauty pull you towards it, it feels like you were there when the moment was captured. It evokes a certain emotion, as if you can feel it, you can hear it, touch it or taste it. It is not only visual delight, it is so much more. Or, sometimes you can not put your finger on it, but it somehow draws you in like a magnet. It might evoke a distant memory or a secret desire. It totally captivates you and you are left speechless. You become one with the artist at that moment.

Now if you are on the other side and you want to create something that extraordinary, how do you do it? Simple – follow your passion. What in life captivates you? What takes your breath away? What makes your heart beat faster? What interests you so much that you want to learn more? What puts a smile on your face? What makes time fly? Immerse yourself in that moment, feel every feeling, every sensation in your body, and create what you see, imagine, hear, feel, touch. Express yourself through drawing, painting, creating, dancing, music or taking pictures frame by frame until you catch that right moment, that feeling that is deep inside of you. When it comes from your heart, it shows, and others will notice it.

Now when you’re ready to create your masterpiece, you may ask “what equipment should I use?”

The answer may surprise you: It really does not matter. If you can afford state-of-the art latest things, great for you, if you know how to use it. However, what I truly believe is that if you create or capture something that comes from your heart, that passion will radiate to the viewer no matter what equipment you will use. The moment will capture their hearts, as they captured yours by creating it. The passion will show and it will shine through.


Digg’s All Time Favorite HDR Photos

These are the most popular HDR photos as voted by the Digg community within this past year:


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