The number one subject of photography is a sunset. Why not? They can be absolutely beautiful and they happen at a time that doesn’t require getting up early (like for a sunrise). However, that popular of a subject can become a cliche. To avoid creating another cliched photograph, you need to ask these questions:
Does the world need another one of these?
If it does, then how can I make this one better or unique to my creative voice?
Once you answer these questions it is time to set up your camera and create a great composition.
How I Did It – While driving home one evening it was becoming obvious that we were about to experience a spectacular sunset. Not wanting to create just another sunset photograph, I found a scene that I felt was fitting to the beautiful sky. Here is what I did.
- Added a human and local element by framing the sky against the silhouette of an old early nineteenth century New Jersey farm house.
- Showed the juxtaposition of the bands of beautiful light in the sky against the bands of snow in the field.
- To add a sense of warmth and humanity to the image, I “digitally” turned on a warm glowing light in the farm house using Photoshop.
Avoiding a cliche means taking any subject and expressing it in your own creative voice.
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A beautiful image, and the lighted window is a powerful addition which I thought was great before I read that you had added it..
Last summer I posed the same kind of question: does the world need another sunset, sunrise, breaking wave, etc. My ultimate answer was that while maybe the world doesn’t need it, I do and that’s all the justification I need. The ideas are at http://bergiesplace.wordpress.com/a-photography-phunk-an-essay/
Thanks for the compliment Ralph but even more, thanks for the great post. It is well thought out and provides the real reason we do what we do with a camera… Because we need it. No matter how many sunsets, puppies or flowers are photographed, someone needs to do it for the pleasure or the challenge. You have stated that so well in your post.
It is beautiful! Even though there are many of them, I always love a great sunset photography. 🙂
Hi Erika, You are right, there is no such thing as a bad sunset. Thanks for your comment.
FANTASTIC!!! Love the glowing light in the window! We think alike, you and I…I had a post some time ago titled, ‘Are Sunset & Sunrise Photos Cliché? Whether they are or not, I will never tire of them!
Thanks Denise. I agree I will never tire of the beauty and the challenge of a sunrise or sunset.