Once we start to become comfortable with our cameras' controls, we can pay more attention to what we include in our pictures and how we arrange the elements. This process is known as composition. Colleague Eileen Rafferty gave a talk at B & H Photo in NYC on visual design which includes more ideas and suggestions about creating our photographs. You can watch the video at Visual Design of a Photograph.
In this image, I was drawn to the shadows created by the strong winter light shining on the items by my favorite chair. This picture illustrates how light, shape, texture and color---the elements of photographic design---combine for interesting pictures.
If you're interested in an introduction to composition and visual design, I still have space in my Photo Composition night class in Missoula, MT, that begins February 11. Visit The Lifelong Learning Center website to register.
"Craft is how you control the image so that it expresses what you want it to express." --- Rob Sheppard
Nature photographer Rob Sheppard recently wrote a blog post that clarifies the difference between the craft of photography and the art of photography. Craft is meant to serve art, to help the photographer achieve the idea or feeling she wants to express in her photograph.
In this photograph the craft entailed adjusting the exposure to record white snow, removing intruding branches on the right edge and processing to retain texture in the tree trunk. Choices that affect the feeling or art of the image included how much tree trunk and snow to include, whether to shoot vertical or horizontal, where to place the tree in the frame, how I felt about that lone leaf still hanging on after a winter snow, a tiny spot of color in a colorless environment, and the simplicity of the scene.
Sheppard does an excellent job of explaining this difference. Read it for yourself!
Brooks Jensen, accomplished black & white photographer and editor of Lenswork magazine, shares regular podcasts. In his most recent offering, "Sixty at Sixty, " Brooks describes the thought process he went through as he developed his ideas for what this project should entail. Listen, especially if you are thinking of a photographic project of your own.
In an earlier post on editing photos, I outlined the ten basic steps that most digital camera (or camera phone) pictures can benefit from. In this article, I provide a detailed description of how to use manual adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Elements to edit a JPEG file. I'm using Elements 12 on a Windows computer for the screen shots. If you work with a different version, your screen will be different but the tools and commands are the same.
If you have captured your image in a RAW file format (e.g. Canon's CR2 or Nikon's NEF), then you would need to first open it with a raw conversion program such as Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Lightroom to turn it into a JPEG file before following these steps.
I hope you received some photo related gifts over the holiday. If you did not, you may want to consider a present for yourself: a subscription to Photoshop Elements Techniques.
A subscription provides you with a bimonthly newsletter and online access to a blog & tutorials along with practice files. The January/February 2015 issue includes excellent articles on using layer blending modes, sharpening photos in both Camera Raw and Elements Editor, following a basic workflow to enhance pictures, directing the viewer's attention in your image and photographing waterfalls.
You can learn more about this site at www.photoshopelementsuser.com. If you recently purchased a copy of Elements, you would have received a card introducing this web site.