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How to unlock the secrets to impressionist photography

13 Jul 2022

How to unlock the secrets to impressionist photography

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If you have been taking impressionist images for a while, maybe even years, but despite all that time and practice, you cannot break through into creating the photos you wish and which you feel you can do, read on.
In this article, I will share a few secrets that will enable you to discover and release your true artistic potential in impressionist photography.
When I first started with impressionist photography, I believed that a lot of practice mastering special techniques was the secret to the success of my images.
With time, however,  I discovered that successful impressionist photographs are born of something beyond the ability to master artistic techniques. It also involves the photographer’s attitude.
The good news is that you can easily develop this attitude through mindful practice and by including a few practical habits in your creative process.

The first secret is quite simple:

Capturing impressionist photography involves the interpretation of a subject rather than simply photographing what’s in front of you. As Henri Matisse said: “A picture isn’t a mirror which reflects what I lived through in making it, but a powerful and highly expressive object which is new to me as to anyone else.”
Once you understand that your creative interpretation of a subject is more important than the subject itself, you will be liberated to make amazing impressionist photographs.

Second secret: immerse yourself in a photoshoot

One of the best aspects of creating photographs is the pleasure received from that experience. When you are truly engaged in a photo shoot, you notice neither heat nor cold; you forget to eat, you are aware only of changing light, and time seems to cease to exist. You might feel tired at the day’s end, but it is satisfying tiredness with your mind and soul refuelled.

Third secret: Prepare the mind

Once on location, take a few moments to clear your mind and calm your spirit. Observe your subject. The art of seeing as an artist lies in acknowledging the subject as a set of shapes, colours and tones. All these pieces come together as an image in a puzzle.

Fourth secret: Learn to simplify

Impressionist image is about expressing the most with the minimum means. Simplification and suggestion are two of the most endearing qualities of impressionist photography. A simple line, shape or colour can suggest meaning or evoke feelings. The easiest way to decide what matters in a scene is to look at your subject through half-closed eyes so that distracting details disappear and the primary forms and accents of colour stand out.

Fifth secret: Choose a Point of View

While creating your images, you need to observe your subject intensely. The less effort it takes to observe, the more you explore your subject. Find the most comfortable position for each shot, so you can take time to compose each shot.

Sixth secret: Embrace ambiguity

Ambiguity in impressionist images is intriguing. It will encourage viewers’ imagination and invite them on a journey to complete the picture with their own perception.
Anyone who has taken impressionist images for some time will know it is always a challenge. I hope the principles explained here will help you unlock the secrets of your success with a new attitude and response to this style of photography.
If you approach each photoshoot happily, not worrying about the outcome, you will experience immeasurable pleasure and inevitably take some great images. And you can undoubtedly claim to have unlocked the secrets of impressionist photography success!