Art: Understanding the Next Level

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  1. #1
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    Understanding the Next Level

    As the title says, I wish to explore what it would take to up the artistic quality of the photos I take. The photos are purely for the enjoyment of my family ranging from taking pictures of my mother in-law’s flowers to vacations we have gone on.

    In the past I read up on the rules of composition as a step in education as well as popular websites. However after viewing this forum for some time now, I decided to throw caution to the wind and post a few of my favorite photos taken over the years. They are of a variety of subjects and I would like help in understanding what it would take to make these better.

    They have been scaled down to 640x480, but I can reduce them further if people wish. All of them are raw, without post processing or framing. Finally, my camera is a Pentax Optio S 3.2 megapixel that I purchased a couple years ago. Thank you in advance for your constructive criticism!

    IMG340
    Name:  IMGP0340.JPG
Views: 275
Size:  239.9 KB

    IMG506
    Name:  IMGP0506.JPG
Views: 281
Size:  267.6 KB

    IMG599
    Name:  IMGP0599.JPG
Views: 280
Size:  234.8 KB

    IMG612
    Name:  IMGP0612.JPG
Views: 282
Size:  262.9 KB

    IMG791
    Name:  IMGP0791.JPG
Views: 262
Size:  259.4 KB

    Last edited by Xoonz; January 18th, 2007 at 09:29 AM.
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  3. #2
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    I cannot believe that I left you all speechless! Please, any comments you can give would be greatly appreciated.

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  4. #3
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    The first and second are gorgeous because of their color. I also like that with only a few images, you created very different moods. I just prefer the sharp color as opposed to the grayness of the others. Thats just my opinion. I like the idea of the last one....i probably would have tried taking the picture as a portrait rather than landscape because maybe the flowers would be even more dominating.....?...

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  5. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback. With the last one (IMG791) I wanted to capture both the flower and the backdrop with the chair. Seprately they made a good photo, but I just couldn't seem to get them together. I was trying to focus on one piece of the overall mood of the environment, and show the environment at the same time.

    Maybe if the backdrop were a bit more blured it would make more sense, plus the lighting was not great on that day. Or, if I had steped back to make the flower less dominating. I agree that if I were to take just the flower, it should be more of a portrait.

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  6. #5
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    ok i see what u r trying to do now...hmmm if u wanted to include the chair, backdrop, and flower to create a mood im not too sure that I would blur it anymore...i might try to maybe step back a little and rotate to the left, then u can see the chair a little better.

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  7. #6
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    IMG340:
    I think the angle is to simple, it could work with a less distracting background. Either a more interesting angle on the flower or a simpler background would help I think.

    IMG506:
    Too far away, no defined subject, too much dead space. Lovely color on the water.

    IMG599:
    Gray and boring, no real subject here either. Move in closer and remove what doesn't do anything for the picture. I think I understand what you wanted to do in this picture but the composition doesn't work very well.

    IMG612:
    Nice view! But no real subject here either, it feels like one big backround and it needs something in the foreground.

    IMG791:
    Same problem here as with the others. Composition could be improved, all the stuff in the background is distracting. Good depth of field though.


    Some basic rules too keep in mind are:

    - The rule of thirds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds
    - Fill your frame, move closer to remove unwanted elements.
    - Keep the horizons level.

    Also try out the aperture priority and shutter speed priority modes if you have them on the camera. Read about the relationship and effects of the aperture and shutter.

    That's my 2 ören, good luck and keep shooting and posting.

    /Daniel

    Sketchbook
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  8. #7
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    I have an affinity for taking environmental shots and your feedback enabled me to read up on the topic. When taking environmental shots you really need to have a focal point and subject. Otherwise, the eye meanders around the photo without direction.

    I was studing IMG612 in this regard and I see now how you could draw the viewer more into the photo. First rest the sky in the upper third with the horison on the upper line. Then use the lower horizontal line to define the long rocky finger comming out of the cliff. Finally put the "hut" in the lower right focal point. This would give the feeling of the hut looking out over the cliff and complete what my real intention was.

    I also see what your saying about IMG599. The boat house was my real subject. I attempted to match the weathered look of the wood to the gray morning to create a mood. In the end though it really didn't work.

    A lot of the abilities of my camera are automated to specific settings and are hard to change on the fly. Before I invest in other equipment I do wish to improve on my composition.

    Thanks again for the feed back and reading tips.

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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morbid
    IMG340:
    - The rule of thirds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds
    Going one step further than the rule of thirds, experiment with comparing your photos having an equal number of two focal points with those having an odd number. Three just might be better than two!

    This is a 'rule' that many still life photographers stick to when setting up their images. And it's a good way to test the concept. Instead of an apple and an orange (2) on a table put an apple, orange and pear (3) on the table and compare the appeal of the resulting images.

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