January 22, 2018

Archives for April 2015

The Use of the Diagonal Line in Photo Composition

Crit 0001 Carlene Ehlers Final

I received this photo on the left from Carlene Ehlers from South Africa. She has also submitted several other photos, which I will try to critique over time.

She saw the empty bottle in the crevice, realized the potential of the bottle to be of artistic value, and of course, took the photo.

Her question is: “How can I improve the photo”.

Before giving my comments, I want to stress that I endeavor to give an objective opinion. If you give the same photo, or photo opportunity, to the next person, the composition may be totally different, as well as the critique.

I am trying to keep the critique as simple and practical as possible.. The whole idea behind it, is that you as photographer can take the information, work with it, and try to apply it to your own photography in easy and practical steps.

In the illustration below you will find a red arrow (A) on the left and (B) on the right. They both represent the imaginary line the eye travels in the photo. Carlene made the right decision to compose the bottle diagonally. However, if you look at the red arrow A, you will see that the eye will enter the photo in the left parallel and exit in the right parallel. This illustrates that the original composition creates negative (unused) space in the bottom left and in the top right.

By rotating the camera so that the imaginary line (B) goes from bottom left to top right, the eye enters the photo bottom left and follows right through to the top right, therefore utilizing the full diagonal space.

If you compare the length of line A to the length of line B, you will also realize how much longer the eye remains in the photo.

By rotating the subject, the label is also repositioned in the top right intersect of the top 1/3 and the right 1/3 lines of composition. This is the strongest composition point to place your focal point. The label automatically becomes the center of focus.

I also created a subtle vignette on the edges to put more focus on the subject.

By applying one of the rules of composition (diagonal line), and a vignette, you can see how the impact of the photo has changed.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you want to submit some of your own photos for critique, you are welcome to do so.

Crit 0001 Carlene Ehlers Final Copy

Submit your own photos for critique

I want to extend an open invitation to everyone who wants me to comment on the composition in their own photos to send it to me. It will then discuss on this blog-site. In the process we all will learn from it. Photos can be sent to photos@fcschwartz.com. Just a few rules, it must be family friendly, and by submitting the photos you grant permission that the material may be used for training purposes, digitally, in print or any other media.

Decisions on Composition

Decisions on Composition

Coronado Bridge Aerial View

Coronado Bridge Aerial View

This photo was recently shared on Facebook, and only afterwards I realized that it will serve as a great reference to illustrate the decision-making process in composition.

I think I have mentioned this before: The science of composition is a subject that can be studied, and anybody can learn how to apply the rules of composition to his/her own images in order to enhance it, and make it more pleasing and understandable to the viewer. A long sentence, but powerful content!

The bridge, with its natural curve served a triple purpose:

In the first place it forms the lead-in to the photograph. It leads the eye from the left bottom of the image, right through to the right, and then stretching into the upper half. Because the bridge goes from left to right, filling the width of the photo, there is very little negative space towards the right-hand side.

It is used to frame the photo at the bottom, and the right.

Most important, it is the main object. Everything evolves around the bridge. The more purpose a subject has, the stronger it becomes, and the more the eye will focus on it.

The city-scape in the background subconsciously becomes an object in itself, but sub-ordinate to the bridge. The bridge leads the viewer to the city. If I would have excluded the sky from the photo, the city would have become the background, and the bridge would just disappear in the background. Now the bridge fulfills a purpose by leading the eye to the city-scape.

In western culture, we read from left to right. Therefore the eye is trained to go from left to right. That is why the bridge is used to lead the eye from the left to the right, and up. If the bridge was flipped horizontally, i.e. lead-in from right to left, all the water would have formed a negative space. Now it is not.

The anchored sailboats, forming a diagonal line, forms an imaginary line, starting from the top left of the photo, and leading to the bridge.

The boat in the middle left, heading towards the bridge also tends to lead the eye in that direction. If the boat was going the opposite way, it would have had a negative impact on the composition by leading the eye from right to left, and away from the bridge.

The arch formed by the top of the helicopter’s dash (bottom right) replicates the arch of the bridge in the opposite direction, thus mimicking the flow. If it wasn’t there, there would have been a negative space.

By splitting the photo in three horizontal lines (water in the front, city in the middle, and sky at the top), a setting is created that is much more pleasing to the eye. People, by nature finds uneven numbers of objects more pleasing than even numbers.

Diagonal lines, parabolas, and horizontal lines were used to support the composition as a whole.

Submit your own photos for critique

I want to extend an open invitation to everyone who wants me to comment on the composition in their own photos to send it to me. It will then discuss on this blog-site. In the process we all will learn from it. Photos can be sent to photos@fcschwartz.com. Just a few rules, it must be family friendly, and by submitting the photos you grant permission that the material may be used for training purposes, digitally, in print or any other media.

The Recommended Color Space for Online Posting

The Recommended Color Space for Online Posting:

I saw a post in the Lightroom Help Group on Facebook where a person mentioned that there is a color differentiation from the photo on his computer to the photo he posts in Facebook.

This is normally the issue when you edit your photos in a different color space than Adobe sRGB, which is the recommended color space for posting your photos online. I must stress, don’t edit in sRGB, just post in sRGB. The color gamut in sRGB is much smaller as i.e. Adobe RGB, but sRGB is the only color space that can be handled by the Internet. Colors out of the sRGB gamut will just be lost.

I spent some time to find the best possible way to do the conversion from Adobe RGB to Adobe sRGB with the least amount of color change.

sRGB_v_RGB_Salvation_Mountain

Top Image: sRGB conversion using Photoshop. Bottom Image: sRGB conversion using Lightroom.

I found the biggest color change happened when I converted directly from Lightroom.

The bottom section of the photo was done with the Lightroom conversion.

The least amount of color change takes place when I do the conversion via Photoshop using the following workflow:

When you open Photoshop (without opening any photos, change the color space to sRGB. This is done on the Mac by using the following shortcut keys: Shift+Command+K.

When the Color Settings open up, click on the RGB dropdown menu and select sRGB.

I also select the “Ask When Opening” options under “Profile Mismatches”, and “Missing Profiles”. This reminds me afterwards to change my color space back to Adobe RGB.

Open the photo(s) you want to convert.

Resize your photos. If you are interested, I can send you my Photoshop Resize Actions for a 1024 x 768 pixel, 72 p.p.i. (Landscape), and  768 pixel width portrait photo. These sizes are ideal for online posting.