Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Final Blog

For the final blog entry I used photos that encapsulated everything we have covered in the class. The first photo is to show post processing work. While we didn't cover this in depth in the course I feel like it's a huge portion of my workflow when taking photographs. I'm not only taking a picture, but planning ahead for what I'll be able to do in photoshop later.  The picture taking is just the first half of the equation for me. This can also be seen in the second photo, which I used photoshop to add a border and create a spacial effect that makes it look like my daughter is at the entrance to a time warp.
The next two photos both show how a long shutter speed can be used to ones advantage.  In the first I used a long shutter speed to capture some fireworks. Colors are compensated for by tinkering in Photoshop to color correct the image.  The long shutter allows for the streaks of light to be capture while still retaining the form.  The second photo shows a long shutter causing some accidental light painting.  In this case the lights stayed in place while the camera was moved. Light painting is a fun way to create a unique image using light to streak through the dark air.
The next photo shows a mix of a portrait shot and using a fast aperture for a very shallow depth of field. While she has her hands raised (hand placement is huge in portrait shots, it quantifies emotion) you can also see the blurred, creamy bokah in the background. Using a low aperture, something below 2.8 is desirable to blur the background and drawing the focus onto the subject in the portrait shot. Preferable you want to draw attention to the subjects eyes. Eyes can show the emotion of an image, the poignancy on the face of subject is what creates a picturesque scene.
The next photo shows a perfect example of a shallow depth of field, the fingers are clearly in focus but the focus is blurred directly beyond her hands. Bokah is so great, I wish I had a full frame camera to be able to make it as creamy and dreamlike as possible. Unfortunately that’s beyond my pay grade at the moment.
The final photo demonstrated composition, a fast shutter speed and a high ISO. In a dimly lit room with fast moving action I need a fast aperture to compensate for the fast shutter speed. Since the aperture wasn't fast enough to expose the image properly so I raised the ISO up to compensate.  From there I used Photoshop to smooth out the noise in the image.

Final pictures

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Portrait pics


Portraits are in essence photography stew. They combine all the elements of every other aspect of photography and mix together to create a potentially beautiful outcome. Whether it's using the rule of thirds to keep your subject out of the center weighted section of the frame to increase interest in the photo. Or using compositional skills such as angles and lines to direct attention to the subject.  The ideals of depth of field also play a huge role in making a beautiful portrait shot.  Use a shallow depth of field, this blurs the background and provides a beautiful backdrop to put all of the attention on the person you are photographing. Another aspect that we didn't cover a ton in this class, but than is vital to any good portrait shot is lighting. It is what will set the framework for the photo. Will you use shadows to convey a sense of gloom or dread? Will you use the golden hour of the day to provide a picturesque glowing backdrop that will show innocence  and vibrancy? 
All of these things are factored in before the model subject ever steps into frame. Now that they are preparing to take that step though, what other factors should you worry about? Firstly is their wardrobe. Does it match the vibe you were aiming for? Does it provide contrast to the background and the skin tones of the subject? Ultimately is it an attractive outfit that will further the photo? Or will it hinder you by forcing you to work around clashing colors or unattractive seams.   From there is the makeup or grooming of the subject. You want their appearance to match the portrait shot. If you are looking to convey hardwork, and long hours perhaps you have your subject covered in a bit of grime, maybe you see their dirtied face from the perspective of only their eyes.  On the flip side maybe they are looking for something in the way of a headshot, or a glamour shot.  Is their make up properly done ie. Do they not look like a clown?  Is their hair kept? Will it block their eyes during the shoot? Finally at the end of all these steps comes the actual posing.
Body language can tell as much about a person as any set of words. Do you want the subject to be stand offish, alluring? Vivacious? All of these are accomplished through proper posing. As a general rule of thumb try to avoid shots from straight ahead. Even if their head is pointed right at you have their shoulders a bit off kilter to provide a focus point and some form of lines to lead the viewer to the desired focal point.  Lastly is the placement of hands. Our eyes are a scene into our soul, it’s true. But our hands can tell so much. Whether gently nestled under the chin, or sturdily tucked into our pockets, they control every aspect of our body language. Be aware of this when photographing people. Lazy arms and hands can ruin an otherwise beautiful shot.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Composition Photos


The first step in great composition for a photo is determining what the subject of the photo is. One can’t compose the surroundings if we don’t know what we are supposed to be looking at right? With that try to not always go for the obvious subject to focus on.  Often times we get into such a funk of photographing the same thing, the same people, the same features on those people that we get lazy with our composition and don’t challenge ourselves to see a different photo from the same scenic stew.
One important thing when coming upon a scene is to visualize not just the subject as I said, but the shapes in the frame, the lighting, how those shapes and the lighting and colors all fit together. It all must come together in your head before you take the photo before it can come true when you snap the shutter.  For instance say you are at the zoo and want to take a photograph of the rhinos.  The first thing you are bound to notice is the totality of their enclosure. The fencing, the rhinos themselves, just the entire habitat that has been created. But what are you going to photograph? Are you going to take a picture of the rhinos from a hundred feet away? Yuck. Are you going to zoom super tight on the rhinos so they take up the entire frame? BORING.  But what if you saw a strand of flower hanging low behind the fence enclosure. But there are rhinos there! I can take photos of flowers anytime! I know what you’re thinking, but what if you dropped your depth of field down so that you were focused on the flower but had the distinct shape and color of the ominous beast in the background framing the flower for you. Wouldn’t that be a much more interesting shot than the other two ho hum touristy shots? But it still involves the rhino. You see the scene is what you make of it.
With all of this said, don’t become a composition nazi. Yes you have to work at it and yes it will be awkward and forceful at times, but after a bit you shouldn’t be spending more than minute surveying the area and being able to discern how you want to compose your photo.  You don’t want to over think things, because it will just cause stress and often times make your judgement cloudy.  Go with your gut and you will often times be able to view the landscape and determine how to best compose the photo within a quick thought. The beauty of our digital age is that you don’t have to nail it on the first try. If you take the photo and it just isn’t working compositionally for you, it can be changed. You can find a different angle to shoot the image at, or change the settings on the camera to control the lighting and or depth of field in the shot. The world is there to be photographed, you just have to pick the pieces of the puzzle you most want to use and do it.