Tag Archives: Compostion

The simplest way to add depth to your pictures

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •

• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle •
Click image to view large
• Young Knights battle at the gates to the castle • By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page
The foreground interest fools the eye into seeing depth. In this case the path line and undulations in the mid-ground also help.

Understanding the power of the foreground…

Is the first step to creating a sense of depth in your pictures. Our eyes use markers like foreground, lines and background to gauge depth in the landscape. If we provide these in a two dimensional picture we fool the eye into seeing depth there too.

Foreground Interest – Video

Bryan Peterson explains in the video how to take a position that brings out the foreground interest. It’s easy. Make sure you shoot past something close when shooting into the scene so you can see a progression of depth… foreground, mid-ground and background. Simple.

adoramaTV  External link - opens new tab/page With Bryan Peterson

Scale

In fact you can use this landscape trick in the studio, or even a small room. Position yourself close to a foreground object and shoot past it into the room or scene. For example, use a chair or a table to occupy a part of the near end of the picture. That gives you a close marker allowing the eye to gauge a distance into the room. Here is an urban shot using the same principle…

Monument

• Monument •
The presence of the coffee cup on the table gives an immediate scale marker to the eye. The rest of the scene has depth because the eye can match the scale differences progressively as it looks into the scene.


The very well known scale of the size of a coffee cup in the picture is the clue to the depth of the rest of the shot. The eye/brain system does the rest. Simple principle – simple composition.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

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The simple secrets behind good food photography

Food for Her World Vietnam magazine.

Food for Her World Vietnam magazine.
Food styling by Dang Phuong
Photography by Mads

Food for the World Vietnam magazine. Photography by Mads • on FlickrExternal link - opens new tab/page

We all love good looking food…

Food photography? So, what makes it look really good? I love to cook and make tasty food. But, great cooks also have a skill with presentation. It is the presentation which really makes great food shots too.

Food photography seems to be centred on three things – good looking food composition; great light and picking the right focus/centre of interest. Duh! Wait a minute, isn’t that pretty much photography summed up all over? OK, I jest. There are some specific ideas and techniques involved. Good food photography seems to require a particular approach.

Here are some introductory points for good food photography. You should look to achieve…

  • Experience with small-sized and table-top compositions.
  • A working knowledge of lighting at the table-top scale.
  • Simple natural light from one source (window).
  • Able to use reflectors/black cards to shape the light.
  • Simple centre of interest in the shot.
  • Carefully chosen depth of field.
  • Very simple, but rich backgrounds.

And with the food itself…

  • Natural and where possible bright colours.
  • The colour mix should work together.
  • Avoid odd clashes of colour.
  • The food combinations should be simple and few.
  • Focus on the main interest.
  • Avoid highlight bokeh spots where possible.
  • Try to emphasis the texture of the food (lighting).
  • Use simple but eye catching cutlery and plates.
  • Avoid cluttering the shot with too much food.
  • Give the food a big/deep background.

More after this…

Book recommendation:

Food Photography:
From Snapshots to Great Shots

Simple advice on lighting including great diagrams. The pictures include camera settings. Excellent advice on setting up a table-top studio which was also inexpensive to do. Lots of tricks and techniques like the pros use. Great presentation ideas.

 

Food Photography Tips – Video

In this video we look a range of ways to look at and shoot food. It is a great introduction to food photography basics. The video uses graphic images for a broad introduction to the art of angles, framing and creating drool inducing food photos.


Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training courses in digital photography.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

Can you write? Of course you can!
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Three quick tips for photographing people at work for your employer

When you photograph people at work context is all important.

When you photograph people at work context is all important.

Photographers often have to photograph people at work.

It is easy to forget who you are photographing. Although these people may be your friends, you still need to put them into context. Work is not just about friendship, it is about production.

Why?

If you are asked to do photos at work you should know why it is being done. The most important thing, as with all photographs, is planning ahead. That means discussing with your employer what is expected of you. If you know that and you get your actions approved you should have fun doing the shot and make a great job of it. After all, it is about doing a good job right?

1. Portraits

Make sure the picture conveys the meaning you have been asked to fulfil. Often employers just want portrait shots so customers know who they are dealing with. If that is the case then you need to consider clothing, poses and backgrounds that are appropriate for your subjects. Plan the shots beforehand and approach your employer to see if your plan is appropriate before the shoot.

2. Context

If the photo is a record shot of the work situation, make sure you take the shot in the context of their work. The appropriate apparatus and background is important. In the work photo above the two girls served coffee in the front-of-house operation. A teamwork photo (heads together conveys closeness and camaraderie) was appropriate. Work with the people you are photographing to make sure you are portraying their true location and work situation.

3. Location

In a very diverse working environment a group shot might be more appropriate than individual shots. Make sure you work with your employer to find the best place to take the shot. Employers usually have very clear ideas about what they want to show their customers. It is important to get the final situation right. Your photograph will be saying a lot to its audience. A shot in the most presentable place in the factory is better than outside the toilets in a neglected yard! Use common sense to assess the location. Make it both relevant and appropriate. Make suggestions to help the composition, but make sure your employer is happy before doing the final shots.

An extra one for luck

If you are doing people-shots use a tripod. It is essential to make your shots sharp. Tripods will help you do that more than anything else.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

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10 ways to bring out the point of interest

"Drag bike" Selective colouring is a great way to bring out your point of interest in the shot

“Drag bike” – Selective colouring is a great way to bring out your point of interest.
Click image to view large

Focus the attention of your viewer using these great techniques.

The most important thing about your image is the part that you want your viewer to see. A great image needs to concentrate their attention and hold it in the shot.

Next time you are ready to take a photograph – pause for a second. Think about composing your picture so you direct the viewer at the most important part of your image. The ‘point of interest’, ‘focus of attention’ or a ‘focal point’ is where the viewer finds satisfaction from looking at the image. It makes sense that you use one or two techniques to point the viewers eye right at the reason you are taking the shot.

10 Techniques directing the eye to the point of interest
  • Crop: The cropped shape of the picture is an important way to help the viewers eye find the ‘point of interest’. Letterbox shaped crops help the viewers eye to run across the width of the picture; square crops help direct the reader to the centre of the shot; landscape views are so common that they help the reader be unaware of the crop; Portrait views alert the reader to the vertical things of interest. A crop is a great way to help the readers eye, especially when used with other techniques below.
  • Position: Where you place your point of interest in the shot can affect how prominent it is or how the eye is drawn to it. A good introduction to positioning is to look up the Rule of Thirds. That is a basic rule of composition that gives the eye a dynamic reason to look at the point of interest.
  • Size: A large subject or point of interest is a great way to make people look at it. Big and bold and your viewer will hardly miss it!
  • Focus: The use of depth of field is really effective. The human eye naturally sees what we directly look at in focus. So we tend to concentrate our viewing in the area of sharpness in a picture.
  • Movement blur: Capturing movement creates blur. In my picture above the bike is travelling very fast. To capture it like that I have panned my camera. The background is out of focus. The sharpness and blur create a contrast that draws the eye to the sharpness. Alternatively, you can photograph something moving that you want to become blurred as the focus of attention. Classic movement blur is often created at the fair in the evening. Fast movement with brightly coloured lights wonderfully blurs the merry-go-round in a longer exposure. The strangeness and strong colours draws the eye to the patterns.
  • Colour: Using colour is a great way to draw the eye. Strong primary colours (red, green, blue etc.) are especially good at catching the eye. One bright colour against other lesser colours also directs the eye. Contrasting colours can be a good way of highlighting a particular point of interest too. Colours are best used to make the point of interest stand out from the background.
  • Selective colour: The absence of colour in part of a picture and the selection of one colour or an object in colour is a great contrast in the picture. That difference – greyscale to colour – will strongly make the point of interest stand out. An example is the picture above.
  • Shape: The use of shape is a way to draw the eye too. Again you can use a contrast. One round object in a group of square objects really captures the attention. A strong geometric shape in a picture where there is no other strong, well defined shapes pulls the eye.
  • Pattern: Where there is pattern there is focus. Our eyes are good at picking out patterns. Sudden, clear formation of pattern in a picture where there is no otherwise clear pattern focusses the attention on the pattern. The opposite is true too. Where there is a breakdown in a pattern the eye is drawn to the difference and questions why the change or break in the pattern.
  • Lines: The eye naturally follows lines in a picture. So, you can use lines both as the actual point of interest, and as a way of pointing at the focus of attention. Implied lines can be useful in the same way. A line that strongly points to something else is another way to capture the attention.

It is important too, you are careful not to make the picture too complicated or cluttered. To much to catch the attention will have the eyes whizzing around the picture and not able to settle on your point of interest. Likewise, it is best to use just one or two of the above techniques. Too many and the eye is confused with what direction they should follow. Composing your picture is about subtle messages and directions to help the eye. The last thing you want to do is to confuse or misdirect your viewer.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
See also: Profile on Google+.

Can you write? Of course you can!
Write for Photokonnexion...

We would love to have your articles or tips posted on our site.
Find out more…
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New Articles – Photographic Glossary

New definitions added to the Photographic Glossary

Over the last few posts a number of important new articles have been included in the photographic glossary here on Photokonnexion. These are…

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