Pretty please? With sugar on top?

Professional photographers–those of you who ask considerable sums of people’s money to play push-the-black-button-on-the-expensive-toy: please tell me most of you are better judges of what it takes to create a pleasing composition than the below example.

senior photo gone bad

I hate to break it to you, but making a senior portrait good does take a bit more than a smile, a tree and some white thingy declaring “This is my SENIOR picture! That’s right, it’s not my junior… or sophomore… or, er… freshman picture.” In this case, less would actually be a whole lot more–to use the cliche.

In a related topic, we photographers have this thing with trees. We tend to think of them as The Great Equalizers. “When in doubt, frame in a tree” we seem to declare. Or maybe it’s just me. It seems to work, but I think I should maybe challenge myself to go treeless for a while, lest my portfolio start looking like a dendrologist’s.

A quick look through some of my work:

Brides and trees go great together.

Brides and trees go great together

And so do couples.

couples go great by trees

And so do sunsets.

Trees go great with sunsets

And fall colors.

Trees go great with fall colors

And buildings.

Trees go great with buildings

And deserts.

Trees go great with deserts

And canyons.

Trees go great with canyons

And streets.

Trees go great with streets

And churches.

Trees go great with churches

And corn fields.

Trees go great with cornfields

And beet fields.

Trees go great with beet fields

And natural disasters.

Trees go great with natural disasters

And plantations.

Trees go great with plantations

And cute nieces.

Trees go great with cute nieces

Fake ones can even work.

Trees work even when they're fake

And other times, trees are great just by themselves.

Trees are great all by themselves

Hmmm… I see a theme developing. I mean… there’s nothing particularly wrong with trees. I love them and all. Just… I see a lot of them in my pictures.

By Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a marketer, blogger and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

4 replies on “Pretty please? With sugar on top?”

Fantastic pictures!!! I can’t believe you took all those! You can get away from trees if you want to but those are all amazing! Thanks for sharing them.

I keep thinking I need more trees in my photos. They are so incredibly expressive. They offer wonderful compositional lines, a sense of solidity and permanence or the crumbling sense of time taking its toll, a strong solid character or gnarled creepiness…

Really, no need to escape trees, no need to try to take them out. They are beautiful.

that’s really funny because when i was thinking about it, i feel like something’s missing if there’s not a tree in a picture. like when i was on top of Lodgepole Mountain with my brother, i wandered around the top until i could find a shot with a tree somewhat close.

Now,if you would have been willing to continue doing family weddings we would have had trees for you since Beth and Jason had a tree grafting as part of their ceremony. And the reception was in the walnut grove of the environmental center. How many more trees could you need! :-)

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