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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Rules of Composition

RULE OF THIRDS

The rule of thirds has been used through the centuries and is probably the most recognized rule. The rule of thirds directs that the frame can be divided into three vertical sections and three horizontal sections. Wherever the separating lines connect is an ideal spot for a subject or point of interest. By positioning your main subject at any of the four intersection points, you are giving your subject more emphasis than if it is right in the middle of the photo. The intersection points can also work if there is more than one main subject in a photo. Most famous photographs and paintings have the rule of thirds applied to them in some way or another.

SIMPLICITY

The simplicity rule directs that you should keep the items in your photo relatively simple. If your main subject is close to the lens, then your background should be very simple in order to avoid distractions. Another good idea is to avoid objects or lines that lead the eye away from your main subject.

CONTRAST

The contrast rule directs that light subjects should be placed against dark backgrounds and vice versa.

FRAMING

The framing rule directs that using natural surroundings mindfully can add more meaning and focus to your subject. The surroundings could be anything such as bushes, windows, trees or even a doorway. When using this rule be sure to focus on the main subject and not on the surroundings that are framing it. It is also a good idea to use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) when using this rule in order to create a high depth-of-field.

TEXTURE

The texture rule can add a great amount of interest to most photos. When people see texture in a photo it can spark their imagination and make the photo more real to life. Texture would be a good idea when taking photos of rocks, walls, surfaces, hands or even leaves. In order to create texture try to compose your photo so the light is coming from the side and therefore casting shadows in key places.

DIAGONALS

The diagonal rule directs that diagonal elements or lines can make a photo more dynamic. Diagonal elements could be fence posts, roads or even tree branches.

LEADING LINES

The leading lines rule can be used to direct the eye deeper into a photo and commonly to the main subject. Leading lines can lure the eye to a subject by leading to it from any side or depth of the photo. Leading lines could be roads, rivers, tree branches or even bridges.

COLOR

The color rule is what adds interest and emotion to your pictures. Different color configurations can inspire and amaze viewers. Colors can also be used to accent certain parts of a photo.

Essential Photography for Beginners

1. Make mistakes: “Every expert was once a beginner” remember this one line before starting. When you are new there is nothing to lose, make as many mistakes as you can, but don’t get frustrated with your mistakes, learn from them and develop your skills further.

2. Get as close as you can, to your subject, try to fill the gap around your subject by approaching as close as you can to him, this will fill the frame of your picture with the subject only, you will see the difference between the pictures clicked from a close distance than when you clicked the same subject from a far distance. You will see the fine detailing of your subject.

3. Click as much as you can: We all know that “practice makes a man perfect” this can be said rightly for all the new photographers reading this article, if you are a new photographer, click as many pictures as you can, of the same or of different subjects to find your masterpiece with different angles. This will help you in mastering technical skills of photography.

4. Use the light: If you learned how to take advantage of a light source and utilise the source of light whether it’s a natural source like the sun or an artificial source of light like a lamp or something, you can make an ordinary picture look extraordinary.

5. Using flash: If you are a new photographer, you might think that you only need a flash when it’s too dark or when you are clicking pictures indoor, but this is not true. You might have come across a very common problem of uneven shadow patterns, those have spoiled your shots, when you were taking pictures in the bright sunlight, to resolve this issue you need to on the flash of your camera and put extra light on your subject, this will help you in getting rid of those shadows.

Successful Slideshow Production

1. Determine how long you want your slideshow to be. The length of your slideshow will determine how many photos you can use. If you are using the simple fade-in fade-out style, you can usually use about 80 pictures for a 10 minute show. And that is about all most audiences can handle. However, if you choose a slideshow creating company that has more creative elements included in the slideshow production, then you may only be able to use 50-60 photos for a 10 minute slideshow. However, the upside of this is that a more creative slideshow can last longer and seem shorter.

A 20 minute creative slideshow can feel like only 10 minutes, where a 10 minute fade-in, fade-out slideshow can feel like 30 minutes to a lot of people. As we all know, we don’t always enjoy viewing one another’s photos for long periods of time. So, the more creative the show, the longer it can play and your audience will not even realize how much time has passed.

For instance: Sands of Time Multimedia Creations did a video slideshow for a church that went on a mission trip. They were given hundreds of photos to work with and the end results were a one hour video slideshow presentation. As the youth gathered around to see this, they were not at all excited at the prospect of watching photo after photo for one straight hour. However, as soon as the video started they noticed immediately that this was not your photo-after-photo slideshow. Their attention was captured from the beginning to the ending as they laughed, cried, and cheered. At the end they were surprised it was over and stated that they had no idea an hour had passed! They all purchased their own copy of the video. Creativity – the key to a truly great slideshow presentation!

2. Pleasing Your Audience – If possible include some photos of the people who will be viewing the presentation. Everyone loves to see themselves light up on the big screen! It will make them feel a part of your special event and keep their interest peaked to see who will be showing up next.

3. Decide Your Theme – Choosing your theme will help you choose your photos.

A. Do you want your slideshow to span the life of an individual?

B. Is more than one person’s life going to be featured in this slideshow? If so, do you want their lives shown separately or simultaneously?

C. Is the slideshow going to focus on a specific aspect of the person’s life such as
a sports video, a particular hobby, or a particular quality aspect of a person’s life such as in a Mother’s Day Slideshow or Father’s Day Slideshow?

D. Is the time frame very specific as in a vacation slideshow? Or Christmas slideshow highlighting the current years events?

4. Choose and Organize Your Photos- These are very crucial steps and also very challenging. After all, almost every photo of Jane or Bobby is truly unique and beautiful and shows different character qualities. Sometimes it’s good to have a friend help you because they can be more objective. As cute as Jane or Bobby is, most people get the point after about 3 – 5 pictures in a certain time frame. Organize your photos chronologically or by theme, or depending on your slideshow, both. Ask a slideshow consultant for advice

An example for choosing your photos – Becky is doing a slideshow of her daughter’s graduation. She wants the photos to be from the day she was born to the day of her graduation. She goes through her photos, picks out her favorites and organizes them according to the year. Then she goes back and selects her very favorites from her favorites. Sometimes a third time is necessary, by then you will need to determine which ones MUST be in the slideshow and which ones can be omitted.

5. Choose Quality Photos – This will help you in the choosing process. Ask yourself these questions:

A. Is the photograph clear, not blurred or hazy? The blurring and haziness will be enhanced the more enlarged the photo is.

B. How is the lighting? Too dark or washed out?

C. Is the photo too grainy? Grainy photos do not scan well.

D. Has the photo been cut in an odd shape? – Although these work great for scrapbooking, they work poorly for slideshows.

Though some photographs can be somewhat fixed and corrected the better quality you start with, the better the finished product.

6. Choose Your Captions – Captions can add to the appeal of the picture for the audience to help them understand what is happening in that particular photo. They can also add to the humor or sentimental value of the video. Not every picture should have a caption; for the most part the photos should be able to speak for themselves. Your audience may not enjoy the slideshow as much with too many captions. However, in certain circumstances, such as creating a slideshow for a loved one who is away serving in the military captions can be quite effective.

7. Choose Your Music Carefully – Hollywood producers will tell you that the right or wrong music can make or break a movie production. Choose the music according to the feeling you want to give your audience. Happy, sentimental, funny, nostalgic…. it’s all in the music. Choose music that means something to you or the person you are creating the slideshow for. Check the length of the music to the number of photos you want to use and the type of slideshow you are choosing.

8. Add Video Clips – Adding short video clips to your slideshow can help break up the slideshow and 10 – 30 second video clips can enhance any slideshow.

9. Use Voiceovers – This can add a sentimental touch to any slideshow. This can be done using a video camera, or with some digital cameras that take video. Just be sure to tell your slideshow company that you just want to use the voice, not the video.

10. View Samples, Choose Your Slideshow Company, and Place Your Order-There are many slideshow companies to choose from, so how do you know which one is right for you? Always view the online samples. If you are looking for the simple fade-in, fade-out slideshow, any slideshow company can do that. If you want the Ken Burn’s effect with the pan and zoom this is very nice and some slideshow companies can do that. However, to narrow your search even more look for unique and creative slideshows. Very, very few slideshows can do this. Combining the Ken Burns effects with creative elements, scenery, and backgrounds make the best slideshows. Creativity and uniqueness…key elements to any truly stunning slideshow.

About Outdoor Group Portraits

I want you to picture yourself and your family outside on a nice afternoon. It’s Thanksgiving, a great day for a family portrait. Unless it is a cloudy day, some nice shade will produce a flattering lighting ratio for your portrait. This means that the brightest part of the picture and the darkest part are not too far apart in value for the film or hard drive card to capture. Then choose a uniform background for you portrait. A stand of dark evergreens, a barn wall, a distant lawn, or a high hedge are all excellent backgrounds. The back of the house and patio, the driveway with the parked cars, or partially sunlit woods are too busy a background for your picture.

Next find something for people to sit on: a log, a small table from the patio, a picnic bench or a patio chair. The object is to have everyone’s head at a different level. Small children are, of course already low to the ground. Seat some people at chair height, others on the ground. Sitting like an Indian is not a viable pose. Try sitting the person down on the ground with their knees together, ankles crossed and to the side. Standing and leaning against something also provides a different height for your composition. Try to place the heads so that they do not line up either vertically or horizontally. Rather than presenting a square shoulder to the camera, a slight turn to the body is preferable. Eye glasses can be held in the hands or tilted down. Be creative in you grouping – two, threes and fours in a close grouping look better than one group of seventeen evenly spaced. Remember to overlap shoulders so that heads are closer together. One shoulder is all that is necessary to see.

Arms should never hang straight down. Instead, place some hands in pockets, around shoulders or holding hands. Diagonals in the composition increase the dynamic qualities of your portrait. Pay attention to the legs and feet. Natural looking positions include crossed ankles, placing the feet forty-five degrees apart (standing), and crossed knees. After the positioning everyone, stand back and squint at the effect with blurred eyes. Turn any straight on bodies and relocate any misplaced color or glaring whites for a more pleasing effect.

A broad, low light source is ideal for a flattering look to your portrait. An open sky overhead will result in dark eye shadowing. Reflecting light into the shadow areas or using fill flash will correct this situation. Take advantage of the light from a white building or a setting sun. A natural solution is to place your group under some overhanging branches.