I found this post on the net today and it has a good and different way of composing your image. Give it a read… or a watch…
Rikk Flohr © 2016
We’ve been taught to watch the corners. In fact, any composition class worth its time and money will tell you to watch the corners. Distractions, stray light and other nasty things creep in from the corners. Sometimes, critical story-telling action takes place in the corners too and you have to be able to discern and crop accordingly to take advantage.
My daughter Whitney has a new puppy named Ludo (after the large monster in the movie Labyrinth). He is a 8 week-old Newfoundland. Wrangling a young and recently adopted puppy is a challenge – especially in a studio environment. Some of the captures not only stretched the sensibilities of composition, they struggled to keep the energetic youngster in frame!
Above is the original in-camera framing – uncropped. The focus of the shoot was to get Ludo’s puppy picture. Ludo is the subject. He is center frame, in focus and well lit just like I planned. I shot wide so that I could ensure that his entire body would remain in frame no-matter how much he moved about. After that, it was simply a matter of keeping him on the white seamless. As I went through the images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, I noticed how nice the interaction was between Ludo and his new owner/mommy Whitney. I sought to crop this image while keeping their relationship intact and using it as my story.
With my Rule of Thirds overlaid on the capture, I examined the image for items that could be sacrificed and items that needed removal for the sake of distraction relief. Marked in read were the problem areas I saw. The edges of the seamless needed to be eliminated. Whether I cropped the area outside the seamless off or filled it in with white, that area had to go. Because this is Holy Crop! it was cropped off. I wanted to leave my daughter in frame to give a more robust story to the puppy’s pose. He is looking at her – she is looking at him. That interaction is powerful! The angles of their lines of sight, suggest a diagonal composition.
Cropping to the edge of the seamless right and left tightened up the composition nicely but left a little too much space to the right. The space under Ludo’s feet was pretty close to where I wanted it so I let it stay untouched. I only had a partial face of Whitney to begin with so I didn’t risk cutting any more out off of the top. One eye was enough to establish the line of sight. With pretty close to a full arm and part of the upper torso, I was confident I had enough person to scream ‘person’.
Let’s talk about balance. Good composition has a balance. Though Whitney is bigger than Ludo, Ludo is closer to camera than Whitney. Ludo is darker than Whitney meaning he holds the weight of the photo. Ludo is also the primary subject of the photo. The trick to balancing Whitney in the upper left with Ludo in the lower right is manage space.
I’ve blacked out the four ninth sections of the image where nothing is taking place. It is just empty space. To balance the two entities and compose them successfully in the corners, I have to keep them within these bounds. Both square areas need to have reasonable composition respectively when viewed as disjoint images for this to work. The angle between the centers of the two square areas needs to be approximately the angle of the line joining the eyes of both. A little fine tweaking of the right edge inward allowed me to ensure that the angle worked.
Ludo takes up four squares. Whitney takes up one square. Their positions in space satisfy the balance between the objects and their relationship as defined by the line of sight. What we are left with is a portrait of a puppy, owner and the story of their first photo session together.
Composition is possible working from the corners. Watch your interaction of your corner subjects and give proper presence to the subject and their supporting players! Balance and motion are key. Compose each corner separately and make sure the relative positions support the movement of our eyes around the image.
Now, let’s see some of your cornered subjects!
Rikk Flohr © 2016
Adobe has announced the release of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC2015.4/6.4. This update provides the usual new camera support, new lens support, bug fixes, performance enhancements, and new camera tethering support. Complete details can be found at the Lightroom Journal Blog.
The cool announcement as far as Holy Crop! is concerned is a new feature for the Creative Cloud subscribers of Lightroom. And, it is a Crop-Related Tool!
Below the Auto Crop check box is a new slider called Boundary Warp. Boundary Warp is a new feature that allows you to deal with the irregular boundaries left after stitching together a panorama. You can see in the three-image sample stitch above that there are white spaces (transparent areas) left top and bottom after invoking Photo Merge. Sliding the Boundary Warp slider off of zero, Lightroom will attempt to fill in these transparent areas – intelligently.
As I slide the Boundary Warp slider toward 100, portions of the image expand to remove the empty areas left by the stitching process – all without leaving Lightroom! If you want to avoid creating a massive Tiff file and round-tripping to Photoshop, this is a good option. Formerly Auto Crop would chop off the extra pixels to eliminate the empty space or you could use Photoshop Content Aware Fill to work those image out. The beauty of Boundary Warp is in the DNG File that is your result. No baked-in settings of a Tiff and no huge disk space requirements are your benefits. Give it a try!
Rikk Flohr © 2016
In today’s Found on the Net category is an ancient (in web terms) article on Avoiding Tangents. This is a good article on things to avoid in both in-camera framing and in your subsequent cropping. Give it a read!
As you go about cropping your images, consider using your cropping choices to make certain that you avoid tangents in your finished images.
Rikk Flohr © 2016
This year, I am adding a new workshop to the series: September Night Skies at Badlands. In the traditional Spring Workshop the sun sets too late and rises too early for effective night sky photography. On the traditional Winter dates, the times are fine but the nights are so darned cold! I thought to my self, when can we have light jacket weather, great night skies and decent shooting hours? The answer was Dark of the Moon in September.
To mix things up a bit – especially for returning alumni, I’ve decided to add a printing component to the Badlands Spring workshop. December will remain my traditional Winter Wildlife workshop
There is a $50.00 early registration discount for each of the workshops in the series so don’t delay. Last year, both workshops sold out well in advance of the workshop date.
Complete information can be found at Rikk’s Badlands Website.
I look forward to seeing you all in the Badlands!
Rikk Flohr © 2016