Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is Simplify, Simplify, Simplify! I thought it would be an appropriate one for Valentines Day because the subject I’m using as my example is some very lovely tulips.
Just as a movie tells a story, so does a photograph. The only difference is that a movie has millions of photographs tied together to tell its story, whereas we as photographers only have one single frame to tell ours. To do this effectively we have to refine the story and the photograph down to its most important element, the sole reason we took the photo. Usually the most beautiful and dramatic photographs are those that have been simplified all the way down to one single subject that doesn’t have to compete for attention because it is perfect all by itself.
Luckily for us, as I was thinking about this lesson, the Disneyland horticultural crew was kind enough to plant tulips throughout the park, which in my humble opinion are one of the most beautiful and perfect flowers on the planet. (Fun Fact: In the 17th century tulip bulbs were used as currency in Denmark and other parts of Europe.)
We’ll start with this photo of the flower beds near the flag pole. It’s nice and pretty to look at but it doesn’t say very much.
Now, we’ll get a little closer and refine it down to just a bed filled with tulips. It’s a pretty picture but lacks definition and purpose.
Then, we’ll get even closer to just a few tulip plants to show what we are really looking at. However, it still doesn’t convey the real story of how beautiful tulips really are.
So let’s get down on the ground and even closer to the subject for a lovely sunlit view of just a handful of blossoms. The sunlight shining through the petals is really pretty but it doesn’t make a statement.
With this shot of just few tulips, there is a subtle, colorful hint of other flowers in the background telling the viewer that these were part of a flower bed filled with other flowers of different colors. We are getting closer to showing the viewer just how elegant and graceful a tulip really is.
Now, I am going to simplify it all the way down to one single bulb. It shows the perfect symmetry of the petals and just how awesome Mother Nature is by creating such a single perfect flower. By showing only one bulb, you are telling the viewer that it is perfect the way it is and that it doesn’t need to be surrounded by anything else to be the most beautiful thing in the world. One single, yellow tulip tells a heck of a story.
© Michael Greening 2011
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