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Photo Composition tip for creating emotion

Framing and composition are important when making photographs.  They have an impact on where you look in the picture and whether you linger to examine it more closely or simply glance at it and move on.  Beyond that, they can have an impact on emotional content.  So here's a tip on making better compositions when you wan to say something with a photograph.

If you look at the photograph above, you see a captured moment of a couple sharing a life event.  There is a sense of connectedness, and of the individuals. 

Now look at this second photograph.  In this one, without seeing faces, the composition forces the viewer to look at the gesture of the man holding the woman.  And it also forces the viewer to look more closely at what they are wearing, and the bag she is holding.

Which one has more emotion?  I would suggest that the photograph of their torso does.  Rather than being a snapshot of two individuals, this composition makes for a more universal image.  And as such, has more intimacy and emotion.

 Next time you are out shooting photographs, try experimenting with composition to illicit an emotional response.


Inspiring iPhone 6 photograph

As the camera function improves with each generation, it's fun to see what phtoographers are creating wthi their mobile devices.  In deference to copyright, I won't post images, but here's a link to some inspiring photography created with the iPhone 6 posted to the Apple website.  Well worth a look!


To be a better photographer look at  paintings

Well before photography came into being in the 1800's, artists had been experimenting with composition, light, form, contrast, color and concept.  That's why when people ask me how to become a better photographer, I tell them to study painting.  By studying the masters of that medium, one can learn a tremendous amount that applies to photography.

I was reminded of that yesterday when I made  a trip to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.  There I saw several magnificent paintings by Bierstadt, Sargent and others.  The sense of light in the Sargent painting, Alice Vanderbilt Shepard (above) was truly capivating, as is the contrast of the bright areas of the face and blouse against the deep, rich background values.  Some of the most successful portrait photographs use this same approach.

And the use of shadow and light in the Bierstadt painting, Sunrise, Yosemite Valley (below) portents the wonderful images by Ansel Adams and other members of Group ƒ64 school of photography.  It employs the time honored technique of a strong foreground to bring you into the image, a powerful middle ground to take you further into the composition, and a delicate background that completes the image.



Athentech Perfectly Clear Plug-Ins 2.0

I've favorably reviewed Athentech, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop in the past, so when I got an email announcing that the program had been updated, I was interested to see what had changed.

 I was delighted to see the numerous additions to the program.   Beyond taking out the grey that seems to be inherent in digital images, the core strength of the plug-in, the company has now added the ability to clean up portraits with a feature called Beautify.  They've also refined their noise reduction feature, and improved their auto corrections algorithms.

I'll definitely be digging into the program more, but on first examination, what caught my attention was how much faster the program is over the previous version.  Adjustments seem to be almost instantaneous, certainly a welcome improvement when having to adjust lots of images from a shoot.

Here's one quick example of what the program can do on simple landscape images.  Besides brightening up the image, the plug-in added saturation to the colors and added contrast that makes the image pop.

Over the next few days, I'll be highlighting some of the other features of Perfectly Clear Plug-Ins 2.0.  Stay tuned.



Camera raw fileWith Perfectly Clear



Using complementary colors to make more impactful photographs

I'm often asked for tips on how to make great photographs, and how I create dynamic compositions.

To my mind, one of the most powerful tools in crafting a successful photograph is using complementary colors to draw the viewer into an image.  Here are two good examples of that.  Walking in our neighborhood last week, the fall color was really at peak.  Everywhere I looked, there was beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves both in the trees and on the ground.  So how did I choose where to aim my camera?

Rather than do a photograph that only had those warm tones, I chose to make pictures where there was a complementary color scheme in play.  In one, I used a green sprout growing out of a tree trunk to contrast with the primarily red leaves on the ground.  Doing so makes both hues more impactful. 

The same holds true for this photograph of the vibrant yellow leaves of this tree.  Rather than focus in on the leaves, I made sure to include some blue sky in the upper right.  Doing so made the yellow all the more powerful.

To make better photographs, there are lots of tools we can use.  Keeping complementary colors in mind when composing a photograph is one of the most valuable.