Lizzie Shepherd is one of the country’s most respected landscape photographers based in North Yorkshire. She has won many awards for her work including the living view category in the Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2015.
Her talk to Ilkley Camera Club on Friday was entitled ‘Mood versus Composition’ and explored the way in which compositional choices can affect the mood of our photographs.
Lizzie began her talk by explaining that a key task of the photographer is to decide on what to include and what to leave out. Using a number of paintings by well known artists she noted that many of their compositions might not be considered good practice in photography. What camera club judges consider to be important rules are often broken by artists! “You have to look at how the picture works as a whole and how all the elements work together. Decide on what works for you and don’t be bound by rules”. Quoting Picasso she said that all the bits in the image have to get along together.
She said that she tries to get a sense of theatre into the images with the subjects as actors on a stage, “how much space is given to the subject makes such a difference”.
On the subject of planning and pre-visualisation Lizzie said that we need to be responding to the landscape and not to try and make it fit to our expectations, “the landscape is bigger than all of us, we need to be taken over by it, it’s not for us to take over it”.
Instinct is important, especially when you are traveling in unfamiliar places. “Immediate recognition is important. Sometimes rather than faffing around it’s much better to go with your first instinct. Sometimes we are drawn to a subject but we can’t quite work out why”.
If you would like to see some of Lizzie’s work you can visit her website on this link.