bigger picture photography cards

One of my go-to photography YouTube channels is The Art of Photography. He talks about gear, features famous and not-so-famous photographers, and hosts photo assignments. He also does a mailbag segment. While watching one of these mailbag videos back in September he featured the Bigger Picture Street Photography cards, a new set of photography prompt and inspiration cards. I had two sets ordered by the end of the video.

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Bigger Picture Photography Cards

See the Bigger Picture is a company based in Germany and sell cards in German and English (although the visual nature of the cards means they could probably be used by speakers of other languages).  They’ve been selling the original set of photography cards for a while and in the video above were introducing their new set focusing on street photography. I notice they also have a German junior edition. They offered free shipping (even here to Canada!) if I bought two sets. I didn’t need much convincing, so of course I did. They arrived super quick and beautifully packaged. (The packaging was so nice, I opened it carefully and saved the paper to wrap a Christmas present with!)

They’ve been selling the original set of photography cards for a while and in the video above were introducing their new set focusing on street photography. They offered free shipping (even here to Canada!) if I bought both sets. I didn’t need much convincing, so of course I did. They arrived super quick and beautifully packaged. (The packaging was so nice, I opened it carefully and saved the paper to wrap Christmas present with!)

The backs of the cards are slightly different, but the great thing is that they’re different sizes, so I can quickly see which set they belong to. Each set includes a few cards of instructions (although there’s nothing too complicated about it) and links where you can share your photographs with other enthusiasts. There is also a ‘composing mask’ card. You cut a whole out depending on your camera and can work on your composition before picking up your camera. I haven’t used this card and doubt I will.

The main deck includes 10 “knowledge” cards and 40 “task cards”. Pull one of each and get out and shoot! Beginners could just choose one.

Back in October I pulled a pair of each set and went to Wolfville to complete my assignment. More on the cards and my results below.

Original Bigger Picture Photography Cards

The original set also comes with a camera setting cheat card. Here is the pair I randomly pulled.

(click to enlarge)

The knowledge cards are indicated by the pink circle in the bottom corner and the blue illustrations at the top. Basically they’re the ‘rules’ of composition – contrast, rule of thirds, etc. The text on the card includes information and background on the skill, and a tip for accomplishing the task.

LineThe task cards are your actual prompt or inspiration and have the blue circle in the bottom corner. From top to bottom, the card includes:

  • an example photo, with the code of the knowledge card used to create it
  • name of the task or prompt
  • background and information about the task
  • The actual task/assignment in detail
  • Tip for accomplishing the task
  • Three circles at the bottom suggesting additional resources (tripod, lights, scissors). If you need one of these items, the circle will be blue.

My combination was “textures and patterns” using “central perspective”.

My task was to shoot textures and patterns that fill the frame, but don’t necessarily need to be in the foreground and my main tip was for the knowledge card – to keep my horizon straight. I required no additional resources.

I found my subject at the gazebo on the waterfront

Bigger Picture Street Photography Cards

The street photography deck is the one Ted spoke about in his video and what drew me to them in the first place. I’ve been wanting to improve my street photography and thought this would help.

This deck does not come with the settings cheat card, but does include a couple of cards on general street photography tips. Many of the knowledge cards are the same, but some are different for a total of 12 skills between the two decks. The task cards are set up the same with one exception – the suggested resources circles at the bottom. In street photography, you might not be carrying around a bunch of stuff. Instead, the single circle indicates the level of difficulty (light grey, dark grey, black) and uses an icon (person or S) to suggest including people in the photo or to advise caution around image rights/laws.

(click to enlarge)

I drew “horizontal/vertical reflections” using “rule of thirds”. I had a bit of trouble with this – finding an interesting reflection, including people, using the specific effect on the card PLUS the rule of thirds. In the end, I simplified the assignment and settled on this:

Reflections of Acadia Pride

Final Review

These cards are great! I enjoyed playing with them, even if I wasn’t entirely successful. They are great for my weekly photo shoots if I don’t have a specific plan, or need inspiration. I’ve also found them to be very useful in the workshops I’ve run since receiving them. When we get to the actual shooting part of the session, or as homework, I assign participants with one or two cards depending on their level.

The original set is a must-buy for photographers of any level. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn about the basics of photography, someone who just wants to improve their skills, or an old pro who needs some inspiration from time to time, this will help everyone. The street photography cards are just as useful if that’s your thing.

If you have these cards and shoot with them, I’d love to see your results!

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