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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/10/2015 at 16:58
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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I have to say by starting this, I believe that I am still a novice and while the camera and post processing my pictures has aided some unique pictures of various subjects, I was struggling to obtain that artisic appeal.
 
So after studying a bunch of pictures out there, including our very own Rifledude's photography I began to wonder:
How does he do that?
What does he look for?
What should I be looking for?
Perhaps, I should shoot from a different angle?
 
Then Ted shared with me, Rules of composition, Rule of thrids, and several other item one how to look at a scene and take it from, Hey look there's a mountain, snap a pic to WHOA! look at that landscape.
 
I think Bob Hawkins, hit the nail on the head with his explanation on several elements that contribute to a great image.
 
Originally posted by Bob Hawkins Bob Hawkins wrote:

12 Elements of a Merit Image

The Photographic Exhibitions Committee (PEC) of PPA uses the 12 elements below as the “gold standard” to define a merit image. PEC trains judges to be mindful of these elements when judging images to the PPA merit level and to be placed in the International Print Exhibit at Imaging USA, the annual convention. The use of these 12 elements connects the modern practice of photography and its photographers to the historical practice of photography begun nearly two centuries ago. Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece, or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one

The Twelve elements listed below are in accordance to their importance.

1.) Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

2.) Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

3.) Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

4.) Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

5.) Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

6.) Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

7.) Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

8.) Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

9.) Lighting —the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

10.) Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

11.) Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

12.) Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

 
 
I wanted to share these with everyone, because I thought it was a cool checklist to have when I set up for my next shoot. In this case my son's T-ball team I'm coaching and going to photograph. Talk about having your hands full.
However, the key points that he touched on are not things I gave much thought, but he puts everything into perspective.
 
What do you guys think?
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/12/2015 at 09:58
RifleDude View Drop Down
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First, thanks for the kind words, Sky Mac! I'm still learning too, so I'm always eager to try new techniques and find ways to improve. All the discussions you and I have had about this over the past year have really helped inspire me to learn as much as I can.

Thanks for posting that. I was actually looking to review the "12 Elements" as follow-up to a discussion you and I had recently. Before I decided my real interest was manufacturing, I initially studied architecture in college, and we learned that many of those same elements are universally important for all visual forms of art and design.

A few simple things I learned from books and articles I read on this topic that have stuck with me:

1. When you find a subject of interest, don't just throw your camera to your face, snap a shot, and move on...if your goal is to take a really nice shot as opposed to just documenting something you saw. If possible, walk around and look at it from as many different angles as possible. Try different lens focal lengths and distances from your subject too. Pay attention to how light and shadows interact with the subject. Often the difference between a mediocre shot and a really nice one is simply finding a unique shot angle or focal distance that will set your photo apart from the ordinary "tourist cell phone" photo.

2. Think of your camera's viewfinder as a picture frame that you carry around with you. How you frame the shot is as important as what you shoot. Always look to simplify the scene as much as possible. Try to frame the shot so you eliminate items that distract the eye from your subject and positioning elements that frame your subject, such as power lines, trash cans, ugly or "busy" backgrounds, etc that clutter up the scene and make the photo more confusing. If the background is too busy and you can't find a shot angle that reduces clutter, reducing the depth of field by shooting at a closer focus distance and/or using a wider aperture will take distracting background clutter out of focus. Sometimes details ON the subject can actually make a more interesting photo than trying to frame the whole subject. Get out of the mindset that you have to get the whole object in the shot or it's not a good shot. Sometimes the opposite is true. I won't go into all the "rules for good composition," as that discussion can get lengthy and there's plenty of good info on composition on the web. Most importantly, learn when to use these "rules" as well as when to break them, as they aren't set in stone.

Thanks again for your post. That's as good an explanation as anything I've seen at describing the elements that make a good image.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/12/2015 at 10:12
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:


2.  Try to frame the shot so you eliminate items that distract the eye from your subject and positioning elements that frame your subject, such as power lines, trash cans, ugly or "busy" backgrounds, etc that clutter up the scene and make the photo more confusing.
 
Oh, like what Kevin did with his Locomotive train entry?
That make a lot of sense. I can see how that could be distracting to other viewers, by having all sorts of other material items in the shot, it takes away from the subject.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/12/2015 at 10:28
RifleDude View Drop Down
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This is one of the better articles I've seen for explaining good image composition, with examples:

http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2012/04/12/10-rules-of-photo-composition-and-why-they-work/
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 16:19
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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That's a really good read Ted, I'm guilty of several of those, more especially Aspect Ratio. But I'm catching on to the rule of thirds and how to apply it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 17:00
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:

But I'm catching on to the rule of thirds and how to apply it.


Just remember that it is a concept that provides visual impact to some shots, but it shouldn't be considered a rigid rule you must always abide by for all shots. Some rules are meant to be broken, and this is one of them. Some scenes have better visual impact when INTENTIONALLY breaking the "rule" of thirds. Examples of when you might want to break the rule of thirds might be when emphasizing symmetry in a scene, such as architectural shots, a church interior with rows of columns or other repeated structural details, or when you find unusual symmetry in nature. The goal of any compositional rule is impact, and sometimes perfect symmetry has nice visual impact. Frame-filling portraits are another example where it's not always feasible to use the rule of thirds, but even then, you can sort of apply it, especially in the vertical axis. The rule of thirds is good to use mainly for making the scene seem more dynamic, so objects have "room to move" in the scene, or for providing balance for objects of varying size, shape, and distance from the viewer. You want to use this with "leading lines" into the scene whenever possible.

Also, the "rule" of thirds should really be considered the "concept of thirds" or the "general guideline of thirds," as the important thing is not the rigid habit of always placing compositional elements in the scene EXACTLY in locations 1/3rd of the way into the scene. Rather, you just want to usually avoid placing the subject exactly in the middle of the frame, which makes the photo more static and boring. Just remember... "avoid the middle" unless your goal is to show symmetry or order with naturally symmetrical objects.

Again, rules are meant to be broken, and for every "rule," you'll run into scenes and subjects where it's either not possible to adhere to the "rules" or the scene would actually be more impactful by intentionally breaking them. The important thing is to understand the concepts behind the compositional rules and why they work, so that you can also understand when it's best to use the rules and when it's best to break them.
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