COMPOSITION: Quickly learn how to take better photos!

In just 10 minutes you can be taking better pictures with the camera you now have!!

Avoid the three biggest mistakes amateur photographers make: Continue reading

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See how Jason Powell takes an old photograph back to the site where it was originally taken, then re-photographs the site with the old photograph in the new picture. SEE ARTICLE.

jason_powellPhotographer Jason Powell takes a photo using an historic picture at the Capitol. (Bill O’Leary / WASHINGTON POST)

 STEPS TO TAKEthis is also a review of ISO/White Balance & the Composition Blogs

1. Find the old photo then go to the place where it was taken – a childhood home or playground, a historic building or location, a travel location with special meaning.


2. Match your ISO setting in the camera to the light level at the location: a lot of light – ISO 200; or very little light – ISO 800 or higher (however ISO 800 or more will create some digital grain/ noise but you will get the picture as a trade-off). Continue reading

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NEWS: Depression Era photographer to be next subject of Film by David Fincher

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.

Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.

DOROTHEA LANGEphotographs for the F.S.A.

David Fincher, who most recently received Best Director nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network (and who is currently wrapping up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), is set to produce a biopic about the amazing Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange. Lange’s work put a human face on the Depression and its effects, and has been extremely influential on documentary photography as a whole. See her photographs of the 1930s drought in the USA at flavorwire:

See the variations of the florence owens thompson photo the ‘Migrant Mother’ photograph above. Continue reading

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COMPOSITION #6 – DIAGONALS: Dynamic Diagonals create a feeling of depth and movement

Dynamic diagonals are action lines that can zoom the eye into the distance. The illusion of movement depends on the angle and length of the line. The line could be a road, a row of trees or stones, a row of houses or anything that seems to make a line on a diagonal. Remember in Composition #3 blog, you do this by moving yourself and the camera. (Note: if these things – the road, a row of trees etc. – are straight across the image they act as a Horizon Line that you can choose to place at 1/3, 1/2, 1/4, 2/3 or the 3/4 division of the space in an image.) FOR EXAMPLE:


Diagonal and Framing

Notice: The sidewalk line begins at the corner – a strong place or point to begin a diagonal. In this image it is emphasized as well by the tonal difference of dark wall and light sidewalk. The partial diagonal line at the top of the yellow house is also on a diagonal. If you mentally draw a line along the sidewalk and continue the line of the yellow house, you know they will join somewhere in the distance, outside the frame. This gives the illusion of depth. The image was taken in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico by this blogger.


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NEWS: Figures and Fictions: South African Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

CHALLENGING SOUTH AFRICA’S PAST – Three Distinctive Viewpoints

Many of us know little about the complexity and challenges of the people of South Africa. The following three differring viewpoints about the diversity, cultures, and the hopes and dreams of the people who live there, will help us to understand through contemporary photographs what South Africa is now. Notice too, how the photographic message can be interpreted/read differently from a political, social, outsider or insider point of view.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1. BBC News in Pictures – The article starts: “During South Africa’s apartheid era the most common photographs to emerge from the country were of violence, poverty and inequality. But now there is a new breed of photographer flourishing in the formerly segregated nation.”

Click HERE for a glimpse of the show at the V&A Museum, London that ran from April 12 – July 17, 2011 and watch the video with Tamar Garb talking about images of urban sophistication and personal empowerment, poverty, AIDS, homophobia and zenophobia. The exhibition was co-curated by Tamar Garb and Martin Barnes. Continue reading

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COMPOSITION #5 – FRAMING: Elements at the edges that create a window effect

This gallery contains 6 photos.

FRAMING is a compositional element that ‘holds’ the picture in at the edges. It creates a ‘window’ effect. It sometimes surrounds all or part of the subject and makes the image more intimate.

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COMPOSITION #4 – FOREGROUND Objects Create Depth Chinese Fishermen

A FOREGROUND OBJECT in a scene is a common way to structure a photograph.

A Foreground Object will help to create the illusion of depth in your very flat, two-dimensional photograph. In art and photography there are 3 basic planes: the Foreground – at the front where the objects are large; the Middle ground – the middle distance where objects are smaller; and the Background – the far distance where objects appear the smallest. Because objects appear as different sizes in the three planes, we use that information to create the illusion of space. The following images all seem to have depth that is created by the large size of the foreground objects. Notice that the size differences in all the images relate to the ‘plane’ they are in. Continue reading

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NEWS: Variable Depth of Field technology called Light Field Technology

New camera lens technology will let you focus where you want to in the image, in the computer AFTER you have taken the photo.

Light Field Technology Lens - change the focus later in the computer

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Rule of Thirds EXAMPLE

Follow the Composition Series here to create better photographs!

Scientists and researchers have described what you know you feel when the basic structure of something is a satisfying visual configuration – the Parthenon in architecture, the Mona Lisa in painting, the iPod and iPad electronic devices, beautiful faces and many other things that are generally considered visually satisfying:

  • This satisfying spatial configuration is based on – the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio. It makes you feel good or satisfied.

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Multiple Horizon Lines and the Rule of Thirds

It is recommended that you view COMPOSITION #1 and #2 first to really understand the Rule of Thirds.

When you are constructing your image in the viewfinder of your camera, you can layer your image with additional horizon lines – or horizontal elements that act like horizon lines. You saw in the prior blog: Composition #2 – Rule of Thirds, how using 1/3 divisions in your image strengthens your composition. That is because 1/3 is a deeply satisfying spatial division to the human brain/psyche.

MULTIPLE HORIZON LINES CHALLENGE: How many horizon lines can you count in each image? HINT: There are 4 in the first image.

Why? Multiple horizon lines can give complexity and depth to your image. You can even use BOTH the top 1/3 line AND the bottom 1/3 line to structure an image. For instance, in a landscape the top 1/3 horizontal line could be where you place the earth/sky line, and the bottom 1/3 might be on a water/land division line, or a forest/field division line or any line created by two different colours, textures or patterns. Continue reading

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COMPOSITION #2 – RULE OF THIRDS How to make an image look great!

COMPOSITION: Use the Rule of Thirds to create great images!!

When you learn the basics of photography composition you will have a lot more great photos to choose from! So, you need to know the choices you have to structure your image and what effect the different structures have. This is a visual language used in photography, painting/drawing and film. However, the content and the ‘message’ are your own. The structuring of the image just helps you express the content/mood more clearly through visual reinforcement. You will often use three or more elements in each image, so there will be many combinations for you to create the feeling that you want.

Thirds Grid with red “Power Points”

Since there are many compositional elements for you to choose from, let’s begin with the basic grid divisions that are classic – the Rule of Thirds – sometimes referred to as Golden Ratio, Golden Section, Golden Mean, Golden Number, or PHI.

The Golden Mean or Rule of Thirds

First, watch this VIDEO to get the idea.

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