Monday, April 03, 2006

A new angle: go tighter..

Just a suggestion, but to make the most of the best "cylinder" photo (4), go tighter...



Critical Light said...

That's funny, because I was thinking how could this original shot be improved and I think you have it, although I wouldn't have gone that tight (I wouldn't have chopped off the top of the head of the first cannister). I think this shot and the other has much potential, because of the 'human' aspect.


Anonymous said...

Chopping off the very topmost part of the "head" still seems OK to me - it makes the composition seem even more candid, whereas a more considered crop would lose that. Also, I think what is gained from losing the distracting bland sky is gained by the increased focus on the subject matter, but it is - as always - a matter of subjective taste.

bishopsindubai said...

I like the crop - it does add to the shot, tight and more impact. I think it take away a little of the humour factor somehow. The sky is wothless I agree.

One of the things I am noticing with some shots I take is my composition skills. I can see what I think is a good shot, frame it, work it out, but for the life of me the background will let it down.

Normally I'll take the shot and hope I can crop or take care of it somehow... I shouldn't but I do...

My question is - what to do if you simply can't get a background to work, or is that rubbish thinking, the background can work - I just need to compose better?

Critical Light said...


To me, the background is part of my image. When I 'see' my image, the background is usually included in my vision. If I don't want the background to dominate, I will shoot with a wide aperture, to blur the background so that it is indistinguishable. If the sky looks boring, I will try to exlude it as much as possible. If there are many distracting elements in the background, or if I think people will have a hard time trying to see what the background is, I will shoot with the wide aperture. I have this problem on Sable Is., because in many cases, seals are in the picture and many people don't know what they are. Is that a rock?

So when I shoot, I always try to imagine what people will see in my photograph. I then change my composition or camera settings to adjust the image accordingly.


Anonymous said...

Grant - you can't do much with the background if it's not composed to work in harmony with the other features of the subject. Don't be afraid to experiment, with the aim of achieving what you have visualised. Some tips (for what they are worth) from me;

-- I usually move around the subject and try as many compositions as possible. For example, with your "robot group", perhaps you could have gone lower, and shot up, thereby trying to eliminate the cluttered background?

-- Alternatively, try getting higher, and simply have no sky, and then try applying the lens blur filter (see below).

-- Or, what about move round 180 degrees - was the background on the other side less cluttered or easier to accomodate?

-- As Damian says, wide aperture = background fuzz, but with a point and shoot (and the inherent nature of it's optics) you'll struggle to get shallow depth of field as much as an SLR.

-- However, that's where Photoshop and the excellent "lens blur" filter comes in.

-- Use it to make the background appear natural but blurry.

-- Take loads of shots, thinking about how/if the background fits or jars, and then select the best one.

-- Sometimes, we need to crop in tight, and I don't think that neccessarily loses the humour in this case - I imagined the front "robot" as if it were a small child, coming way up close to the camera - that's still funny and with humour I think!

Have fun, and let's see some good use of backgrounds, whether to make them come to the fore, or not be distracting.