Sunday, October 4, 2009

Monday Photo Lesson # 2

OK, everyone, let's hear your take on what's wrong with this photo. How could you make it better? Look for the answer this weekend.



















Everyone was right about the photo of the man on the bench. My lesson, however, was to show how easy it is to bring someone into a photo.

I did not not know the subject. I had been shooting something in the opposite direction and turned around and saw this man sitting on the bench. He had been talking to someone on the dock earlier on but was now disengaged. I went up to the subject and the person who had been talking to him and engaged them both in conversation. They began to chat again and I got off two shots - one, this one, was when it was least expected. I did not change my settings because I was waiting for a crab boat to come by and had my manual settings as I wanted them

Yes. I should have adjusted my flash so your eyes would not hurt when you looked at the jacket, but sometimes photojurnlasim is about the moment. Sometimes we don't have time to worry about adjusting our flashes or settings a hair to get a moment that only last half-of-a-hair, if you know what I mean.

Now, there are some people who would have liked it better if the subject had been looking at the camera. That is a matter of taste. I like the mystery of not knowing who he is talking to. Could I have gotten a little more of his hands? Yes. But where I was, with the lens I had, and still watching for a crab boat, I clicked the shutter when I got a smile.

As you can see, I moved in close, and changed my angle. Yes. I wanted the flag. Yes. I wish that car was not there.

It is hard to get many people to relax around a camera. That is an art to it. Chat and shoot when they least expect it. Many people who shoot professionally know that the best photograph of someone comes at the exact moment they know the shoot is over. Be ready for it. Surprise them. Your family photos will be much more energetic.

I have a ton of grant work I have to do, so this will be my last photo lesson. Jen, continue on, whenever you feel like it.

23 comments:

  1. I read somewhere that you never crop a photo at a person's joints so my guess is that this man appears to be an amputee due to the picture cutting off at his knees. That sounds bad, sorry!
    Wow...he has very blue eyes! I love the cap and the red jacket...he is adorable!

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  2. um, the red saturation is a tad much - making my eyes hurt...

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  3. Carrie. Heehe. I like your take on that.

    J9: The saturation is an eye-killer, but that is for a more advanced course. Hey, I gotta shoot for a living and everything must be perfect, so I did not really worry about the sat on the jacket. It was a point and shoot shot. I guess I should have taken care of the sat - I knew someone would spot it. L-A-Z-Y.

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  4. It doesn't follow the rule of thirds? He is too centered instead of his face being on one of the "bullseyes" of the three by three grid? That's my guess.

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  5. Is his hat too big?

    For a laugh, may be there should be a woman next to him. LOL

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  6. The American Flag is disrespected by being cut in half at the edge of the photo.
    Clutter around the focal point (his head) detracts from the shot.

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  7. So I am being lazy today and instead of saying what I though was wrong...rule of thirds and legs cut at the knee...I just put it in Picnik and did my fix to it. See what you think here:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qcOlpC0MAsV_m2kcRmYw0Q?authkey=Gv1sRgCL3hnrHgmdTRxAE&feat=directlink

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  8. This is truly a terrible picture! Rebecca did about the best one could do, but even after those modifications the subject is too clutered and he's looking off to the right sort of like he wished the photographer would just go away. The angle is what bothers me the most. Either the photographer was about 4 feet tall, or is sitting on a bench directly opposite the man in red. A more interesting shot could have been made by either moving the camera up or down and then focusing on the subject.

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  9. Everyone is right is a variety of ways. But think of how many people take photos like this. Right now, I am targeting those who have point and shoot cameras and just want to learn how to take better photos for their own personal keep sakes or to get a little braver when it comes to photographing people they don't know.

    I know many of our Friday shootout members don't like to photograph strangers.

    So here is a hint: I did not know this man but I liked him sitting on the dock enjoying the afternoon. I got his permission to take his photo and I took one shot. There were other people on the dock that he knew. Rebecca did a great job in cropping the photo but although this photo breaks all the rules there are two things that I focused on.

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  10. The rule of thirds is missing. It looks like you were also trying to get the boat on the left into the photo. I think the photo is too straight on. Maybe the photo would have been better if you had stepped to the right and taken it at a diagonal angle.

    I don't know. the only obvious thing to me is the rule of thirds is missing.

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  11. OK, other than the completely uninteresting yet distracting background all being in focus, and the rule of thirds (oh and the sat), I'd have to say that the building sprouting from his head, and the cars driving into his shoulder are rather distracting. The angles in the shot are crazy - the bench, the building, the boat, the parking lot, the flag pole, the boardwalk. It's leading my eyes all over the place, and making them tired. ;-)

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  12. If you ignore all the distractions around his head, the two things that stand out to me are his face and his hands. I don't know if that was what you were targeting Patty, but for me that's the symmetry of this subject.

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  13. when I first looked at the photo what I first saw was this man washed out and his jacket color too bleached. (for me always about color ) but then I thought if he were sitting over to the left a bit and his arm on the back of the bench with his body turned slightly - he would seems to be watching all the action - his arm up on the back would have made him seem to be a part of and embrassing all the action.... I will be interesed in seeing if edits can help or needed to plan more what the camera would see in the first place.

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  14. Hmmmm...I'm still thinking about this one. Can't wait for the "reveal!"

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  15. GingerV: You have the action part right, kind of. Don't worry about the jacket. It is washed out and hurts my eyes. I was shooting something for the paper on the opposite side of the dock, on manual of course, and turned around a snapped this without changing my settings. Manual can be a headache but sometimes it is required for newspaper work because auto sometimes does not get the job done.

    This photo is really not about all the clutter or even the color. Little baby steps for learners and something to spin the heads of more advanced photographers. Heehe.

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  16. Now that I realize that Patty took the picture I know what is wrong with it -- there is no crab anywhere in it!

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  17. Alright Patty, I think it's time for the reveal. I think we're all confused now about what exactly is the subject of your shot!

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  18. Although the quote of Ansel Adams makes me think you're being mostly critical of the photographer. For example, how she didn't get the subject actually focused, or light balanced. This is just a random point and shoot shot without a thought given to framing the subject. Which is maybe the point of the exercise?

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  19. Liked the explanation. And liked the 2nd shot with the smile! Thanks Patty.

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  20. Patty - I think you are right, there is an art to getting people to relax in front of a camera. For my kids it isn't a level of discomfort, but a level of hamminess that they have. But again, it isn't a natural look. I try to catch them doing other things. When I pose them, it looks posed.

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  21. Engage, engage. That always does the trick. There are many times I have to shoot business people who are so...business. It is hard to get someone in a suit to relax. The trick is to let them know in advance you will need at least 30 minutes with them. The first 29 minutes, I loosen them up, get them to feel comfortable around a camera, and hopefully, sometimes during the last minute, I will get a natural and relaxed pose. I always talk to my subjects. Trying to catch them off guard is the trick.

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  22. And maybe this isn't a good idea, but especially with digital cameras or point and shoot cameras, I'll have the shot focused and framed, and then before clicking I'll just take my eye away from the viewfinder and talk to them keeping the camera in place. I usually get a better photo this way than if I keep aiming and framing. Often I'll take 3 or 4 or 5 pictures in fairly rapid succession this way while sort of joking or talking with them. And then later I can re-frame and straighten most pictures when I'm back at my computer. It sort of takes the auto-posing tendency out of most people as you sort of catch them relaxed when they think they're between shots.

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