Tag: composition

Use a Frame within a Frame in a Photograph

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DSC_8887-Edit-Edit (Large)Using a frame within a frame is a great way to direct the viewers eyes into an image and add a sense of depth to a two denominational picture . It also allows you to get away from a standard rectangular frame forced on to you by your camera’s viewfinder.  Frames come in two flavors foreground and background.

The example used here is a foreground frame.  In this example the views eye is directed towards the fisherman in the frame (the intended subject). A wide angle lens may be useful to accomplish this task since it is able to capture a wider area of the scene. The same can be accomplished if the frame was behind the subject (like the arch of a bridge for example) in the background.

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The Use of Geometric shapes in Photography


DSC_8951 - Copy (Small) DSC_8951 (Small)

When composing an image, the addition of geometric patterns or basic shapes such as lines, circles, squares and triangles can add structure and organization within that photograph. It can help the photographer convey an idea or feeling to the viewer. The overall purpose of this is simple, to keep the viewers eye within the frame of the image. The viewer may perceive only a “pleasing image” without ever knowing or asking why.

There is a psychology behind the use of geometric patters in art and how the human mind perceives each of these shapes.  Geometric shapes have been used in all types of art throughout the centuries and photography is no exception. The human mind perceives squares and rectangles to suggest conformity. Circles  suggest  completeness, triangles represent tension and lines represent movement.  Be aware there are variations of these shapes such as vertical versus horizontal lines versus diagonal with each representing something different but the basic idea is the same.  The goal being to engage the viewer.

There are two basic forms of geometry in photography, true and perceived.  A true form would be the rectangular window or doorway on a house. A perceived triangle could be three people in an image that when connected by an imaginary line form a triangle. Which form is used weather perceived or true depends on the opportunity presented to the photographer at the time.

This is one of the techniques used in composition. Examples of other techniques used include the use of opposing colors and  perspective  Again, depending on the subject, intent and overall goal of the message to be conveyed by the photographer will determine the technique used.

The above image shows an example of use of a few geometric shapes within an image. Also note the the image is in black and white to place emphasis on the shapes rather then the color version which may distract the viewers attention from the basic geometric shapes.



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Photography and Timing…

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When shooting a scene with moving subjects consider shooting multiple frames or “bursts”. Two or three should do. Shooting people in motion,children playing or portraits, multiple images allow you the flexibility of capturing the main subject in a more pleasing pose or position. This example of a fisherman walking along the rocks would not have worked so well if the subject was photographed in another stance. It may have made the subject and overall scene look too static. This also works well for close ups of people. For example, taking bursts of multiple images can avoid closed eyes when the subject blinks.

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Selective Color


Selective color is a post-processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color. The reason for this is simple…sometimes it just works. I shot this image of my daughter walking down a nearby pier on a stormy day. My initial goal here was to place emphasis on the sky. However, she had this pink umbrella in the car with her and I noticed the potential for strong contrast of the “dreary” day and bright umbrella for this image. The image was originally shot in color, later a copy of the original image is made in Photoshop  and processed into a black and white. Now you have two images one color and one black and white. Stack them on each other using layers placing the black and white above the color image. Now you have to “carefully” erase the black and white layer from the umbrella to reveal the color of the bottom layer below. After your done you merge the two layers into a single image.

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