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And...Dead Trees and Tree Stumps...And...


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Okay, I said there were just seven, but since I had this extra page, I thought I’d add a couple more in. They’re not nearly as deadly, but still worth avoiding like a festering boil. I’m just going to rapid-fire these off: Dead trees and tree stumps. I’m begging you, stop trying to make a good picture of these. And, no, converting your image to black and white won’t help. There are beautiful living things found all over in nature. Stop shooting dead ones. Next, don’t have out-of-focus things in your foreground. Not tree branches, or railroad crossing signs, or a big blurry rock. It’s distracting to the viewer, who is programmed to try to focus on whatever is closest to them. Also, stop shooting really boring stuff just because you’re standing in front of it. If you’re looking at a scene and you realize that there’s no chance anyone is going to look at the photo you’re about to take and say, “Wow!” then here’s what you do: move someplace else. It’s like Joe McNally says, “If you want to take more interesting photos, stand in front of more interesting things.” If you’re standing in front of those ugly dead trees above, keep moving. Here’s another: if you see a flat gray sky, avoid it like the plague. Another is if you’re processing an HDR shot, or if you’re adding tonal effects with a plug-in, keep this in mind: Clouds aren’t black. They also don’t have drop shadows or glows around them. Although you see incredibly vibrant colors in nature, don’t make them all appear in your photo at once. Go easy on the saturation. Okay, now ya know, so there are no excuses for breaking the “Seven Deadly Sins.”

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