Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 7.1 • 1/160 sec
Hey all you photo enthusiasts! It’s a bonus photo lesson this month! Aren’t you excited?!?!? Previously, I shared about the Rule of Thirds and Framing. This week I would like to extend the lesson to Leading Lines, Active Space, and Simplicity.
Leading Lines are simply the way you use elements in the picture to draw people’s eyes to your subject. In my featured photo this week, notice how the tiger’s paw draws your eyes up to his face, then across to mine and my friend’s. Many people use roads, rivers, streams, bridges, branches, or fences as their lines. Anything can work! Straight, curved, or parallel lines are all good at promoting interest, and you can work them in horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Active Space is used when your subject is moving or looking off to one side of the frame. Most people’s minds automatically wonder what they are running toward or looking at. Therefore, the most effective photography often will leave extra space off that side of the photo, even if it’s just open field.
Simplicity is probably the easiest concept to understand, but can be difficult to photograph. The premise is: don’t put a bunch of stuff in your background that can distract you from the main subject. Sometimes this is done by the angle you take your shot, sometimes it is accomplished through creative use of aperture. A camera will flatten a 3D image down into a 2D photo, so things far behind your subject can instead look like they’re growing out of their heads, if you don’t pay attention. Remember: nothing should be in your photo that isn’t there on purpose.
Is there any photo topic or question you want me to cover in the future? Comment and let me know!
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 / Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 7 • 1/340 sec
For all the other aspiring photographers out there, here’s one you don’t want to miss! Previously, I talked about the use of aperture and timing. This week’s photo lesson covers a few points of composition, something you can practice with anything from a DSLR to a cell phone camera. There are lots of rules to composition, yet rules were made to be broken! My suggestion is to learn the rules and practice them until you know when you can break them. Since there are so many, I’ll give a few here and plan to add more in future posts.
The most well-known composition rule is the “Rule of Thirds.” Take any scene, and divide it up into three pieces, both horozontally and vertically. Now place your subject at any point where those lines meet (which normally seems just off-center). Here is an example (this can also be applied vertically). One time to break this rule: when your scene is symmetrical.
The second rule: framing. My photo above is the example for this one. Putting elements on the edges of the picture can help draw the viewer’s eye to your subject of the photo. In this case, I took this photo of a dock in Indonesia from inside the outhouse next door (and yes, it’s kinda freaky that the holes in the boards were that big!). Trees also make good frames.
So start practicing with these two rules and there will be more to come!
What is your favorite photo? Share a link and we can discuss how it was composed.
Until I went to India, I never imagined how fascinating a ballpoint pen could be. Yet these schoolkids would literally fight each other over one if they had the chance. No worries – I brought a bag full. I enjoy bringing little gifts for kids when I travel, and these kids were no exception. For them, having something more “high-tech” than a pencil was exciting.
Cameras were exciting too. They knew that with digital photography, they could see the pictures instantly on a camera’s screen. So I was inundated with requests by kids to take their pictures, then turn the camera around to show them. This always elicited excited shrieks when they recognized themselves. Every once in a while, I would get a group of kids so big that they started grabbing at the camera. I was worried about it getting lost or damaged, so I started taking their pictures with a point-and-shoot. While they were busy admiring themselves on that one, I would pull out my DSLR and get a good pic for myself as well. 🙂
Knowing how much these little things meant to the kids, I was amazed by a street girl named Minyana. Someone had given her a sheet of stickers, and she chose to be generous herself. She went to each of us in the group, and affixed a sticker to each of our shirts. Even in poverty, she knew what generosity was all about.
Have you ever seen a small gift mean a lot to someone? What about something that someone gave you?
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 4 • 1/1000 sec
It’s been a while since I’m gotten all techy-minded on here, so this week’s post is for my photography friends. If that’s not you, feel free to sit back and read a comic today. I tried to find the details on this interesting Thai insect, but from all my research, the most technical name I’ve seen is “Oh look, a pink dragonfly!” So there you go!
Pictures like this one are the reason I love my 2.8 aperture lens! There’s just something so fun about making a picture where the background does a sudden fade-out and all you see is your subject in sharp focus. The use of light in out-of-focus areas of a photo is called a bokeh, and is a photography technique that really makes your pictures stand out. The aperture (f-stop) of your lens is one of the keys to getting a good depth of field (DOF). Setting it to a low number (1.8 up to 5.6, usually) will give a shallow DOF, while the higher numbers (11 and up) make the whole image sharp. Notice that I took this picture at f/4.0. Usually, the closer the subject is to the background, the lower the aperture you will need. I took my pic from several feet away using the telephoto zoom lens, so I could get away with using the higher end of the range.
This critter didn’t have much in the background I could play with, but if your subject has any sort of light coming from behind it, there’s another opportunity for playing with the effects. A wide open aperture (the lowest value possible for the lens) will give round light spots, while a higher aperture value will take the shape of whatever the lens blades look like (most are hexagons). Then some people get really creative and make up their own shapes.
There. Now don’t you feel smarter? 😉
What is the coolest photo effect you’ve seen or one you would like to learn?