A photograph is a frozen second in time, a token of a memory. If one would really look at any picture, however, a photograph is more complicated than that. Without formal education regarding photography, one cannot fully tell what a good photograph is by simply looking at it. Most of the time even, people say that it is a nice picture if their faces were not construed and their bad angles well kept.
People don’t often find the difference between black and white pictures and full color pictures. It could be that, in this day and age, color can be considered as a basic necessity, something that can sooth the senses. Likewise, color photography is a technology that allows us to maximize how we keep our memories, which is how we remember it: in full color.
In this photography class, we have learned that wasting film is not exactly as it is. With every click of the shutter, we practice. At first, it was quite challenging how one can use an SLR, a camera an average person assume professional photographers use.
Although there is much truth in their assumptions, not all the best photographs are taken using such a camera. A simple point and shoot camera can create the best photographs if the handler knows what he is doing.
A photographer should know the three basic principles in taking high quality photographs: composition, depth of field, and exposure. Although a point and shoot camera cannot maximize the latter two principles, the composition of an image is the most important element in photography. This is due to the fact that the shutter speed and exposure levels are the elements that gives better effects to pictures.
Furthermore, to become a skilled photographer, one should be aware of the other equipment used. A tripod is a fundamental component in taking good pictures. In settings with poor lighting, it is necessary to use a tripod if the camera does not a have a flash, or if it is a kind of night photography. The tripod assists the artist to take clear pictures. A shaky hand hinders one from capturing a crisp photograph.
Different lenses further allows photographers to be more specific in taking pictures. If their object relates to sports, we will need extra lenses that can zoom into moving objects, while maintaining that crisp look. These different kinds of lenses can be necessary for the different specializations different photographers have: portraits, landscapes, architecture, night, still life, journalism, and sports, to name a few.
Although I did not learn everything I could have in one course, I have browsed photographs and some basic techniques online. Access is quite easy, and I believe I have the right the maximize this.
By taking into my formal studies the extra curricular information I attained, I am able to explore and execute different styles. Other means of sharpening my eye in finding a good photograph was through looking at magazines, newspapers, ads, and even those brochures I can come across.
I was browsing in the internet for some of the best photographs in the recent history when I came across an address that showed the best picks in the year 2005. C.L. Garvin of The Register Herald was one of the artists included in their list.
Among all those listed, her photograph was the most serene looking. Her photograph consists of a reflection of a willow, with fall floating on the surface of the water, with the sky as the overall background. The different techniques she incorporated in this photo are also applied by the other photographers in that category.
The difference was how they were incorporated. The composition and total appeal of the photograph also brought about its success.
In class, we also learned the difference between snapshots and photographs. Snapshots are those pictures we take during parties, special events and documentations hastily. They are usually taken with a simple automatic point and shoot camera without considering the other elements that will make it art.
Photographs are taken with a careful eye. It doesn’t matter if the photo was taken quickly, as long as the photographer keeps in mind the basic elements as he angles his camera to the scene, then it can become art.
In color photography, we highly give importance to the role of color to the totality of the image. The different colors used in the composition of the photograph generally sets the mood or tone of the photograph, much like how anything is visually affected by the use of color. In photographs, shades of blue are cool colors, which represent serenity.
Warm colors such as yellow and red represent energy, and earth tones are relaxing. The mixture of colors may represented something greater. This means that in taking photographs, the composition of the shot includes balance between the elements and color use.
Given that color use in taking pictures can break or make the photograph, the choice of colors to use in the frame is quite vital. The purpose of taking a photograph is not just to freeze time, but also to have it represent something more than that, like emotions and thoughts. It is not simply taking a portion of our memories, but also giving it a justifiable aesthetic value.
The basic idea is to capture, along with everything within that moment framed. A photographer should also keep in mind the harmony of colors, and how each complement the focal image of the frame.
Some experienced photographers will say that those who wish to become an accomplished photographer should simply take a camera, look through the viewer, find an object and press the shutter. That is putting it too mildly. True, some of the best photographs have been taken in an instant.
This does not show luck at all, but quick thinking. Moreover, any photographer will not take just one frame of one composition. It can take three frames to 3 rolls to achieve the desired composition and effect of the picture. What is important is that the artist can think fast and be observant enough to find his point of attack.
There are basic guidelines to follow in creating a good photograph. It was mentioned earlier that there are equipment involved. Composition has been long established as a basic principle.
However, there are other ways to point the difference between a good and a bad shot. According to another website I came across, the other points one should consider in taking and deliberating the quality of photographs include: irrelevant elements, rule of thirds, lines, frames, camera shots and camera angles.
Irrelevant elements include those objects that are not involved in the composition but happened to be captured within the frame. This is unfortunately something we cannot always make do without, especially in a very busy scenario. For example, one picture is focusing on children playing in the park.
Parents often see this as a perfect time to have their cameras with them. They bring out the camera and start taking their pictures. Luckily in this age of user friendly digital cameras, one can immediately review the shot they took.
However, in the time of film, we sometimes find ourselves frustrated when the best picture becomes a disaster as somebody’s elbow get in the way, the shot was blurry, or if they weren’t even in the frame. It happens, and is often depressing, to find that we don’t really know how to take good pictures.
The rule of thirds basically imagining dividing the frame into nine boxes, two lines horizontal, and two lines vertical. The idea is to always have this imaginary grid in place every time a picture is being taken. This grid tells us that we should never put the main focus dead center.
By putting the focus along these lines, we create a more balanced photograph. The illusion adds depth to the entire image of the photograph. The focus of the photograph would seem out of place if it is at the center of the frame. It will look odd and unattractive.
Lines in photographs are elements that adds drama and excitement. It has been said that this technique is quite challenging to master due to the complexity it adds to the total appeal of the photograph. There are two kinds of lines used in photographs: explicit and implicit. Explicit lines are those close up details of objects, which if taken from a certain angle can be very beautiful.
On the other hand, implicit lines are those that are implied in the photo. These lines are also considered as invisible lines because one cannot really see it. These lines have been incorporated from the moment the frame was being composed by the photographer. Furthermore, these lines are not always considered when the photographer takes a picture. Subconsciously, these lines become a guide on how the audience will look at the image.
Framing involves what we call the headroom. This element pertains to the space between the edge of the frame and the focus. Also related to the rule of thirds, if the focus of the photograph is not situated in a way that it fills the frame completely. If not, the object should be strategically placed that if it doesn’t fill the frame, other objects will make up for it. The idea is always to have balance and aesthetic value.
Camera Shots will refer to distance of the camera to the object. There are different camera shots a photographer can explore: extreme long shot, long shot, medium shot, close up shot, and extreme close up shot. These shot usually involve a person as reference. Extreme long shot will look like the picture was taken from afar, and the person is only a small percent of the frame.
Long shot refers to fitting the person from head to toe within the frame. A medium shot will refer to half the anatomy. The close up shot will refer to the area from the chest up, with sufficient headroom. Lastly, the extreme close up shot would be a very tight frame of a person’s face. One should always remember, however, that the frames should never divide the body of a person in a frame at the joints: knees, waist, elbow, and neck.
The last of the basic principles discussed by the website I found and was much used as well in class is the camera angle. Five different angles was discussed. The first refers to how the viewer seems to be interacting with the object, this is called a subjective angle. An objective angle on the other hand, refers to how the object is involved his own environment.
The other three angles will refer to the point of view of the camera. The first of these is the low angle, where the camera is taking a picture from the lower areas of the object. This gives the object a sense of power and strength.
The second angle would be the high angle wherein the camera takes a picture from above the object, giving it the opposite appeal: submission and weakness. The last angle discussed is the oblique angle. Quite an interesting point of view, an artist can explore a lot of different angles that can be both dramatic and playful.
However, once a picture is taken, it isn’t a quality photograph yet. How pictures are printed are also taken into consideration. In this digital era, we can print color photographs in our very homes. Technology really made it easier for us.
From our cameras, we upload our photos in computers for retouching and cropping. For black and white photographs, there are specific chemicals used to develop the film, and from that film onto paper. Darkrooms and enlargers are used.
However, for colored photographs, conventional printers and photo papers can be used. To have a more than satisfactory output of these pictures, the kinds of printers and papers should be of top quality to have the desired outcome. Today, the different colors used to print are abbreviated as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). These colors are mixed to form the different colors of the spectrum, producing colorful photographs.
The choices made by the photographer regarding these factors in printing highly affect the output of the picture. It is only logical that way. If pictures are printed on low quality papers, through a rather cheap machine, then what else can we expect at the paper tray? If we are really after the best quality, then we should go all the way. Making use of substitutes will not promote everything we desire.
Realism in photography is quite a rampant style today. Traced to where photographs are still in forms of paintings, realism is a style which portrays real life: problems, physical appearances, and sometimes morals, as listed by the website aHUNTFOR.
Apparently, this style is also used in advocacies and statement artworks tody. The general context involved in realism boils down to the emotions: the feelings during hardship and likewise happiness. It paints reality of that time.
When realism first came out as a style of art, all the neglected aspects of their lives were given light. Anyone today can produce quality photographs due to the convenience technology offered. All the other emotions and overlooked issues were given light. This explains the passion people express through advocacy photographs. Since they are given the liberty to express themselves, so share what they see through their lenses.
This course taught me so much. What I have written here only involves the technical aspects of photography. These are the basic knowledge I need in constructing my own little masterpieces in full color. Printing them out through conventional printers or those in the high end series can only support my photograph. But what matters is my idea is expressed through such a creative means, as photography.
“Basic Rules of Photography.” trem.ca. 20 September 2003. 9 January 2008 <http://trem.ca/learning.html>.
“Best Photographs of 2005.” Avolites Distributors Worldwide. 2005. 9 January 2008 <http://www.avolites.org.uk/jokes/photos05.htm>.
“Realism.” HuntFor.com. 2007. 9 January 2008 <http://www.huntfor.com/arthistory/c19th/realism.htm>.