== Love Photography == Delight in Light ==

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Grinning Baby

Baby Smile

This is a photo of my youngest daughter taken a little while ago. She is actually sitting on the floor - although her legs were a bit obscured by the fact that she was leaning forward so it does look more like she was standing!

Here's a quick summary of how I did it:

  • I was wanting a high viewpoint, so I popped my her on the floor (she could sit but not crawl at that stage - ideal for this sort of thing!) and, using a wide-angle lens, took a few photos of her from close above her head. I played a kind of "peek-a-boo" game with the camera to get the giggles.
  • The lighting was very simple - just an on-camera flash (strobe) rotated around so that the light bounced off the ceiling (if you view the large version of the photo on Flickr you can just about see the reflection of the camera and flash in her eyes).
  • I selected the best image and adjusted it in Photoshop as follows:
    • I used a curves adjustment layer to get the colour effect. I wanted a fairly high-contrast kind of look, so I started off by adjusting each of the RGB curves so that the curve slope for that was steepest in the zones corresponding to the main detail in the photo. Then I played around with the curves a bit more until I got an overall colour cast that I liked.
    • I made a selection of the blue part of the eyes (from the original photo), enhanced the blue colour a bit (again using curves), and then superimposed them over the rest of image to get the blue of her eyes to really stand out.

Thursday 12 July 2007

Me & My Ducky

Hello Duckie

This is a photo of my daughter dancing around with a rubber ducky. I wanted to have a dynamic composition (to match her rather manic expression!), so I placed her head low in the frame and held the camera at an angle (as you can tell from the wall tiles).

The lighting for the photo was simply window light from the bathroom window. Post processing involved playing around with curves and contrast a little in the RAW processing software that came with the camera (Canon Digital Photo Professional [DPP]).

Tuesday 10 July 2007

Rule of Thirds

The "rule of thirds" is probably one of the most often quoted compositional "rules" in photography (probably because it's got a convenient name - the others don't really seem to have names). It says that rather than placing your subject in the centre of the frame you should divide your frame up into thirds vertically and horizontally like this:

Rule of Thirds

Then you should position your subject (or subjects) either at the intersections (like the blue circle in this illustration), or along the vertical or horizontal lines (like the blue line in this illustration). So, according to this rule, for example, the picture below on the left is better than the one on the right:

Bottles 2 Bottles 1

Now, this "rule" is the subject of much derision, with many people expounding the fact that using the rule of thirds is not a guarantee of success - and of course, they are right - there are no hard and fast rules in art.

However, it is based on a good principle - don't just point your camera at something and "shoot" it (that's what you do in marksmanship, not photography) - rather think about where the subject should be in the frame so that it looks most interesting. Then if you place the subject smack in the middle of the frame, it's because you wanted to, not just because you didn't think about it.

Remember, your camera is an artist's tool - not a weapon.