Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: "Image Composition" by Taz Tally

I watched a 20-minute video clip on titled “Taz’s Guide to Shooting Fundamentals: Image Composition” (which is part of Taz Tally's "Digital Photography Principles"). Taz briefly discusses the significance of the following concepts:
  • Orientation - portrait vs. landscape: depends on what you are emphasizing (e.g., trees are vertical; therefore, use portrait).
  • Asymmetrical composition: place the subject anywhere other than the middle.
  • Fore-, middle, background: we don’t want flat pictures. The goal is to let the eye to take a journey though the photograph. We don’t always have to add foreground though.
  • Horizon placement: placing the subject in the middle = dull.
  • Add interest (people, paths, tree, sky, etc): you can use a zoom lens to add/subtract things from picture.
  • Avoid busyness: too much foreground detracts from the subject.
  • Crop images: either in camera or in post production to emphasize the subject.
  • Use a tripod or monopod: to maintain focus/sharpness.
  • Control depth of field: lower the f-stop to create a blurry background, while keeping the subject in focus.
  • Use focus to soften the image: create a dreamy effect by deliberately making the picture slightly out of focus.
  • Use polarizing filters: especially if u shoot outdoors, polarizers create more contrast (particularly in the sky/clouds).
  • Bracket exposures: if uncertain which settings look best, bracket.
  • Use fill flash: for example, if near a window, the camera will focus on the light coming through, leaving the subject in the dark. Use flash to light the subject.
  • Control image placement: redundant topic to “asymmetrical composition” (above).
  • Use framing effect: used a tree to frame mountains.
  • Create eye lines: want to move eyes through a picture, like following a river’s path.
  • Shoot early and late: shoot when light is the most interesting (mornings and afternoons/twilight/dusk).
Overall, the clip was a cursory introduction to many elements one has to consider when thinking about a photograph’s composition. It was not intended to go into full detail about how to apply these elements. He shows effective examples of what to (and not to) do.

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