Learn about photography by visiting a museum

Undoubtedly nothing is original anymore, so don’t be afraid to Steal Like an Artist. Studying other artists and imitating them in your work is a great form of flattery. You can honour others by replicating their ideas such as a similar pose, lighting, technique or style and still make it your own.

Did you know that many of the painting rules are also applicable in photography, so visiting a gallery or a museum for a new infusion of ideas should be on your regular list to do (especially if the exhibition is free). This will not only help you grow as a creative being but you may also befriend a fellow art lover, a gallery owner or the artist him/herself. Networking is beneficial in all spheres of life, so go on, sign in the guest book and let the muse serve you some digital champagne:

The size of the painting on the left would not be as obvious, unless you place something relevant next to it. The same rule stands in photography, a person next to giant waterfall/tree/building is a lot more impressive.

The portrait here can teach us a few things when photographing a person: notice the crop – slightly above her hat and slightly below her hands; notice the position of the body – the shoulders are not straight to the camera, which helps to create the 3D effect of what is actually just a 2D painting.

Create art/photographs that are relatable to your viewer, such as this international symbol of happiness.

Try to find/use similar colours in your art/photography. Even though there’s no distinct point of interest, the warm tones and circular shapes of this painting make the viewer feel cozy and comfortable thoughts.

Get close! Only by getting closer to this giant (10x20ft) painting are you able to observe that it’s actually a combination of countless multicoloured dots.

No matter your vision, skill set or experience, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Anyone may look at this painting and dismiss it as stick figured people, but it’s this artist’s (Marlene Gilson) paintings hang in the Art Gallery of Ballarat and a handful of other carefully selected artists.

Use whatever means possible for self expression, be it an older camera, a cheaper lens or cardboard! Yup, this artist utilises a material which is frequently considered as rubbish, but you should see the impressive gardens and fantastical botanical creations that Eliza-Jane Gilchrist was able to showcase.

The world is a busy, cluttered place. So think like this artist and limit yourself to just a single color family or tone during your next photography walk.

The art work featured can teach us a few things: 1. Simplicity (a dog in a chair) 2. The rule of thirds (the chair with the dog is placed towards the right side and not in dead centre) 3. Contrasting colours (based on a Wheel of Color, blue and yellow are complimentary colours to each other because they are from two color families – cold and warm.

If you’re looking to create a collage of your images, try to stagger them in a pleasing manner. For example, you can mix and match the themes by utilising similar frames. Or mix in smaller pieces among the larger ones. Or draw the viewer’s eye upwards by hanging art work as high as the ceiling.

This one helps to see how lighting affects the piece. We can tell that this art work is lit with two light sources -upper left and upper right. Upper right light happens to be a stronger source of light because the shadow under the nose is slightly darker than the one coming from upper left. Remember the stronger the light, the harsher it is on the skin and the darker the shadows it will create.

Remember to look around you and try to notice not just the art work but the people and how they interact with it.

Or find art interacting with each other.


So, if you’re a creative individual, don’t skip visiting a gallery or a museum whenever you have a free moment. If you’re not creative, you too can learn a lot of photographic ideas and skills instead of passively visiting a gallery, turn it into a mental scavenger hunt. Try to find a painting with a rule of thirds, an art work with contrasting colours, a sculpture whose pose you’ll try to imitate during your next photography session.

Remember, learning from others is not stealing, it’s being inspired and motivated to send you on your next creatively successful journey, be it in photography or any other artistic field.

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