Looking back over the last month, there were some incredible Inspirational Photographers uploading their work to the PT galleries.
It really makes me stop and think about just how many good photos there are floating around out there these days!
Whether the photographers that created these images are professionals, enthusiasts, or beginners, their work all has something in common...
These photos grabbed my attention, made me have a longer look at the subject, and left me with a strong feeling that made me say, "Now THAT'S a good shot!"
From the PT editors and myself, we'd like to present the very best of what our members had to offer last month.
Sit back, relax, and get ready to see some epic photos!
February 1, 2017 - AstroDave
When it comes to astrophotography, Dave is our resident expert. One look at this shot and you can see why! The vastness of space can feel a little empty and overwhelming, but by framing the sky with foreground interest - in this case, the old mining town - Dave gives some much-needed context to the scene. What's more, don't think that the way the Milky Way arches over the town is a coincidence. These shots take immense planning to get just right. Bravo, Dave!
FEBRUARY 2, 2017 - Loni Smith Photography
This sweet portrait of a little girl was shared with us by our friends at Sew Trendy Accessories, and I'm glad they did! Two things caught my eye in this shot. First, and most obviously, the little girl's wardrobe gives the image a bit of a fanciful and playful feeling that elevates the mood and makes you smile. Second, notice how Loni breaks the rule of thirds here, placing the little girl smack in the middle of the frame. Remember - photography "rules" are just rules of thumb; don't get bogged down by trying to adhere to them every time, because, as you can see, breaking the rules can result in a great shot!
FEBRUARY 3, 2017 - Gebriel
There's a lot of talk about lighting, composition, and camera settings as being crucial to the success of a photograph. And while that's certainly true, timing is often just as important. That's on full display in this beautiful sunset shot by Gebriel. The way the sun is setting behind the trees with the clouds obscuring part of its orange orb is a quintessential Africa photo. It also has a bit of a Star Wars vibe too, don't you think? If you want the sun to appear large like this in your shots, use a long focal length - Gebriel used a 250mm lens with great results.
FEBRUARY 4, 2017 - Trevor Anderson
Trevor makes an appearance on our Inspirational Photographers of the Month list for this beautifully moody shot of Rialto Beach. In this case, the lightness of the background clouds helps give a little bit of drama to the sky, while the drama in the foreground is provided by the blurry, crashing waves against the texture-filled rocks. Notice how the image was framed to maximize the impact of all these elements - with the horizon shifted slightly upward, we get a better view of the action in the foreground without sacrificing the view of the sky. Great work, Trevor!
FEBRUARY 5, 2017 - Discovery Photo Tours
This close-up portrait is a great example of how simplicity can elevate a portrait to a new level. With the tight frame on the man's face, there isn't much background, which helps keep our eyes trained on the subject. The nice, even lighting minimizes shadows and gives the shot a clean, crisp look. The muted colors add to the simple vibe as well, demonstrating that sometimes, less really is more!
FEBRUARY 6, 2017 - Brian P. Slade
Wildlife photography is a tricky beast because the subject might move at any instant. That means you have to be lighting quick on the shutter button to get the shot you want. Brian shows us how it's done in this beautiful portrait of a stag in the autumn. Note how the focal point is perfectly set on the deer's eye, such that the detail of his head and those incredible antlers is tack-sharp. And working at 221mm, Brian was able to get us a close-up view while also giving us some beautiful fall colors surrounding the deer. Great work, Brian!
FEBRUARY 7, 2017 - Jens Klettenheimer
Jens shows us how it's done when photographing a water-based landscape in this breathtaking shot. Usually, landscape photos benefit from having a horizon that's shifted upward or downward. However, when water is in the foreground and there's an opportunity to capture some reflections, putting the horizon in the middle of the frame can be the best choice. As a result, we see an image with wonderful balance from top to bottom. Notice how the image is balanced from left to right as well - the structure of the buildings and the hint of lighting on the left help counterbalance the bulk of the mountain on the right.
FEBRUARY 8, 2017 - Ravikant
Believe it or not, this incredible portrait was taken with an iPhone! Like the editors noted in their description, "This portrait has the look and feel of a vintage shot on a film camera." The man's surroundings help amplify that vintage feel, and his casual pose gives the shot a sense of authenticity as well. The manner in which the image is framed - with the man to the extreme left - works well too, giving us a view into the doorway of the home, and left to wonder who that figure inside might be.
FEBRUARY 9, 2017 - Darnell
Clearly, this beautiful cityscape by Darnell is all about light and structure. The lights of the city give a vibrancy to the nightscape and help give the image the feeling you get when you visit a big city - of being busy, full of life, and even a little chaotic. But that chaos is balanced beautifully by the structure of the skyline and the individual buildings that comprise it. The long exposure smoothing out the water in the foreground is a nice touch too!
FEBRUARY 10, 2017 - Daniel Blackburn
Daniel demonstrates how the combination of clouds, mountains, and wildflowers makes for a scene that delights the eye. The tight framing of the shot helps give it more impact, as Mt. Rainier has a more prominent place in the photo. When photographing landscapes, don't be seduced by the wide-angle shot. Sometimes, getting in a bit closer or using a zoom lens to get closer to the subject can result in a more intimate and a more impactful landscape photo.
FEBRUARY 11, 2017 - Discovery Photo Tours
Silhouetted shots can be tricky because they can often feel a bit one dimensional with a bright background and a featureless subject that's cast in shadow. One way to overcome that issue is to include multiple layers of interest in the shot, as was done in this photo. Between the trees in the foreground, the temples and hot air balloons in the midground, and the mountains in the background, the image has much greater depth and dimension, even though all of the previously mentioned elements are silhouetted. That's how you create eye-catching sunset photos!
FEBRUARY 12, 2017 - JENS KLETTENHEIMER
Another entry by Jens, another breathtaking landscape shot. This time, we're afforded a gorgeous view of the wintery landscape under the spell of the Northern Lights. As Jens noted, the light from the three-quarter moon at his back helped illuminate the scene, giving us a full view of the shape and structure of the snow-covered mountains. The way the Northern Lights seem to be emanating from the mountain peak is beautiful, if not a bit magical too!
FEBRUARY 13, 2017 - Brian P. Slade
In one of the most stunning photos of the month, Brian gets us close - really close - to this lion's blood-stained face. When creating a portrait - human or otherwise - it helps if you give the viewer something to think about or something to feel. In this case, whether it's awe or sheer terror, Brian has a photo that immediately connects with you because of the visual impact of the close framing. The details of the lion's eyes, snout, and fur give the photo incredible depth as well. This deserves a big congrats, Brian!
FEBRUARY 14, 2017 - Paul Hartridge
This gorgeous shot is aptly titled, "Let the Light Shine Down." And boy, does that light ever shine! The way the light illuminates the space is beautiful in its own right, but the shafts of light themselves are quite impressive. As our editors noted, the light also acts as a leading line, directing your gaze from right to left towards the facade of the temple. Note the texture of the cave walls as well - with that detail on full display, the image has better depth and feels more three-dimensional. Fantastic work, Paul!
FEBRUARY 15, 2017 - Tony Sweet
This photo by Tony Sweet was shared with us by our friends at Singh-Ray, and I'm so glad they shared it with us! This photo is a gorgeous example of how not all landscape shots have to include a horizon. Rather than shooting outward, consider shooting downward like Tony did here. Doing so puts the color and contours of the landscape on full display. Those contours - and they way they catch the sidelighting - gives the photo tremendous depth that makes this one eye-catching photo!
FEBRUARY 16, 2017 - Rob
One look at this photo and you understand why it was honored as an Inspirational Photo of the Day. The composition is absolutely spot on, with the hulking mass of the boats perfectly aligned with the horizon line. The inclusion of the rock in the foreground breaks up the water, providing interest to draw the eye in as well as an indication of how deep the water is at that point. The colors of the sunset complement the cool tones of the foreground as well. Congrats, Rob! This is a very fine shot indeed.
FEBRUARY 17, 2017 - Rob Woodcox
As our editors noted when they selected this shot for Inspirational Photo of the Day, "In a perfect marriage of portraiture and landscape photography, this image demonstrates how careful posing and framing can result in a more powerful picture." Indeed, this shot puts the power and mass of the landscape on full display, and with the woman framed in the middle of the shot, she has more prominence in the scene as well. But with the flowing movement of her dress and the gold color of her dress, there's a softness about her too. Great work, Rob!
FEBRUARY 18, 2017 - Trevor Anderson
When photographing a landscape that has a relatively detail-free sky, shifting the horizon upward helps minimize that space while also giving you an opportunity to show off any foreground interest. In this case, shifting the horizon upward helped Trevor put the wildflowers in the foreground on full display. The bursts of color help liven up the shadowy foreground while their colors complement the alpenglow illuminating Mount St. Helens.
FEBRUARY 19, 2017 - Lori Dorman Photography
Though lighting is of crucial importance to the success of a portrait, so too are elements like the wardrobe. Here, we see how both the color of the gown the mom is wearing and its form and structure help make this image pop. Adding texture to the scene is also important for adding supplemental details to delight the eye. In this case, the folds of the fabric on the bed and pillows gives just a hint of structure that makes this a more successful photo.
FEBRUARY 20, 2017 - Alberto
Alberto brings tons of color and a bit of whimsy to the table with this gorgeous macro shot. The manner in which each dew drop shows off the form of the sunflower delights the eye, and the manner in which those drops of water are framed by the blurry sunflower in the background only gives the shot more depth and dimension. It's hard not to have a sunny disposition after checking out this shot, right?!
FEBRUARY 21, 2017 - Tony Sweet
In another shot shared with us by Singh-Ray, Tony Sweet knocks it out of the park again. This time, the foreground texture and colors give some structure to a shot that also includes an open sky filled with soft, wispy clouds. The color of the foreground complements the more intense colors of the sunset, creating a nice balance from front to back. Also note how simple the shot is, which allows the aforementioned textures and colors to shine.
FEBRUARY 22, 2017 - Discovery Photo Tours
Iceland is a photographer's paradise, to be sure, and you can see why in this photo. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking with the lush greenery, the blurred motion of the waterfall, and the interesting form of the mountain in the background. The black rocks add a nice contrast to the saturated green colors that are prominent in the shot as well. Note the great balance too, with the waterfall and the mountain working together for a beautifully balanced image.
FEBRUARY 23, 2017 - Nina Masic
As the saying goes, "the eyes have it," and that couldn't be truer in this shot! Here, Nina gives us a master class on creating a beautiful up-close portrait. The model's eyes are tack-sharp, inviting us to meet her gaze and interact with her facial features more in depth. The tight framing around her head keeps us focused on the model, while the clean, even lighting illuminates her features with just a touch of shadowing to add dimension. Excellent work, Nina!
FEBRUARY 24, 2017 - Jens Klettenheimer
As Jens demonstrates in this shot, not all landscapes need to be photographed in landscape orientation. When a tall subject dominates the scene - like the mountain in this case - a portrait orientation results in a much better photo. What's more, the portrait orientation allows us to see the wonderful interaction of the waves and the shore in the foreground. Add in the pops of color in the village, and you have a recipe for a winning photo!
FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - Rakesh Malik
As the editors point out in their review of this photo, "Lighting is everything when it comes to photography, and in this case, Rakesh Malik shows how a high-key landscape can be beautiful." I'd have to agree! The light spilling into the scene from the right is gorgeous, and the way Rakesh maintains its brightness gives the shot an upbeat "sunny" vibe. I'm digging that reflection, too!
FEBRUARY 26, 2017 - Mike Reyfman
This stunning photo of emperor penguins won a spot among our Inspirational Photos of the Day because of the way in which Mike was able to capitalize on the pattern created by the mass of birds. The way that the penguins' orange beaks and necks break up the abundance of black and white is simply gorgeous. What's more, with a view at 190mm, we get an up-close look that frames out all the clutter surrounding the scene. Good eye, Mike!
FEBRUARY 27, 2017 - Lior Yaakobi
The simplicity of this shot is what caught our editor's eye, and mine as well. The black and white conversion is perfectly suited to this scene, which allowed Lior to show off the beauty of the undulating lines of the landscape. The texture of the footprints in the sand adds depth, and the inclusion of the tiny human form in the middle of the shot adds interest as well. That lighting isn't bad either!
FEBRUARY 28, 2017 - Gabriela Slegrova
Titled "Dance With the Ocean," this self-portrait by Gabriela has a softness to it that makes it feel almost like a dream. The bright light illuminates Gabriela and her dress but isn't so bright that it causes the highlights to be blown out. The blurriness of the water looks almost like a vapor rising from the ocean, which only adds to the dreaminess of the photo. This is better than the average selfie if you ask me! Gorgeous work, Gabriela!
So, another round of Inspirational Photos of the Day is wrapped up. I hope you agree that the photos we discovered this month are worthy of the honor. I also hope you find inspiration in these shots to guide and direct your work in the coming days and weeks.
Keep venturing out to take photos, and be sure to upload them to the PT galleries. After all, if you don't upload your photos, our editors can't find them and select them for Inspirational Photo of the Day! Happy shooting!