There is a technical side to photography and an artistic
side. The artistic side is complex with few rules to follow
but the 5C approach simplifies it in an intuitive approach
that is easy to learn. It breaks down a photo into five
components: content, composition, clarity, creativity
and combining all elements for unity. Each of these play an
essential part in making an exceptional photo. I work mostly
in landscape and nature but it works for any subject matter.
In my early photography I would occasionally take an
outstanding photo and I soon gained recognition as being
talented, but most of my efforts were off track. Over the
course of years of dedicated effort, I gradually unraveled
the mysteries of what makes an exceptional photo and the 5C
approach is the result of what I learned. Using it can take
your photography to a whole new level.
Above is one of my early photos of Cherokee Rock
Village. To the right is a better composition which
implements the 5C approach and was used in The Natural
Beauty of Alabama.
At first glance, you might think the second one is better
because of the vivid color. Color is obviously important but
so are the other fundamental elements of art - line, shape,
value, texture and form. Anyone can take a picture with
vivid color but that is not enough to make it an exceptional
photo. Understanding the fundamental elements of art is the
first step but figuring out how to apply them to create
exceptional photos is the real challenge. Fortunately, the
way to do it has already been figured out for you in the 5C
I had previously studied these rock formations and
concluded what I wanted. When a cold front moved in, I hit
the road in the middle of the night and made my way to this
spot before dawn. With the 5C approach it wasn't just a
matter of luck. I knew exactly what I was doing and with the
help of the Emory Program, so can you.
Above is one of my early attempts working with flowing water. The reflections of blue sky and sun fascinated me but I didn't have the experience or visual insight to know what to do with it. Yes, it was creative, but that's not enough to make a great photo.
The second image is also creative but the content is more interesting, the composition is better, and there is a structural clarity that pulls it all together. Once you understand how to work with the 5Cs your photography will improve dramatically.
Early on I spent considerable time working with grasses. I
took a lot of photos like the one above, trying to
make something of nothing. You can take exceptional photos
of ordinary subjects if you can implement the 5Cs like the
second photo does.
It is easy to take good pictures of colorful subjects like sunsets but creating exceptional photos of ordinary subjects like these grasses takes artistic skill. The 5C approach is the foundation of exceptional photography and using it will help you create better photos no matter what the subject. I have designed it to be the shortest route for reaching an advanced level of photography possible.
To see more of my work view The Natural Beauty of Alabama gallery.