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Medium 9781933952468

2. Light Dynamics and the Portrait

Glenn Rand Rocky Nook ePub

Joyce Wilson said of this image, I had just finished with the assignment when the light from the setting sun caught my eye. With the atmosphere and the girls dress, there was the feeling of a fairy tail. But it was the light that caught my attention. To maintain the vision, I needed to capture the flare.

Joyce Wilson (Courtesy of the artist)

The approach we have chosen is to deal with LD, or light dynamics, rather than present single solutions or methods to make specific portraits. Taking this point of view allows us to discuss both the physical realities of light and its effects on the subject. It also removes us from a simple This is the way I do it methodology to a discussion of how to solve lighting problems regardless of which side of the lighting equation they come from. The problems we find will not always fit within simple patterns. Through light dynamics, we build an understanding of our primary tool, the light and its effects, and how it makes successful photographs possible.

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Medium 9781933952857


Elin Rantakrans Rocky Nook ePub


Taking a portrait of someone means building a relationship with him or her, even if it’s just for a moment. This is only possible by taking it easy, because making a connection takes time. Imagine you’re in the Egyptian countryside and you meet an intriguing old man with a fascinating face that you’d like to photograph. As a tourist your only option may be attaching your telephoto lens and shooting from afar without ever speaking to him. But you could also try to have a chat with him. He’ll either say, “No,” or he’ll say, “Yes,” and then you’ll have an opportunity to begin an interesting conversation, even if it’s just with hand gestures, and then you can take an intimate portrait. Take care to always show respect for the people you photograph—a rule to live by at home as well as abroad.

The harsh contrast in the portrait of the Egyptian monk is softened with a diffused flash. // PHOTO: ELIN RANTAKRANS

The relaxed pose, the light, and the composition are integral parts of a timeless portrait. // PHOTO: ELIN RANTAKRANS

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Medium 9781933952604

6. Presenting Your Work

Helmut Kraus Rocky Nook ePub

At the end of the day, once we have shot, processed, and edited our video, what we all really want is to present our work to the waiting public! And this is where the differences between film and photos really come into focus. A video is a multi-dimensional medium that includes the dimension of time, whereas a photo is always anchored to the present and simply needs to be looked at (whether as a print, a slide, or a page in a book) to be experienced. A film only becomes a film when it is played back, a process that requires a lot more technology than viewing a photo.

Every filmmaker should also be aware that watching a film demands time from the viewer. The viewer of a photo can decide how much time he/she wishes to spend looking at an image, whereas the viewer of a film surrenders to the filmmaker for the duration of the videoand it is important that this time is made as interesting and entertaining as possible. The technology used to present moving pictures also plays a significant role in the effect those pictures have, making it important for you to know your way around the available possibilities. The following sections provide an overview of the most popular presentation media.

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Medium 9781933952864


Martin Borg Rocky Nook ePub

Landscape and nature photography provides the rare opportunity to consider image composition at length. There are only a few rules, but the list of potential subjects is endless.

Good photographers know how to create a pleasant rhythm in their images by ensuring that everything contributes to the image’s overall feel. Every detail won’t be an eye-catcher, but all of the elements should have meaning. There are some tried and true methods when it comes to setting up landscape photos.

An engaging foreground directs the viewer to the middle part of the image and finally to the background. This theory suggests that the foreground, middle, and background of an image each makes up about one third of the image’s total area—an idea that works pretty well in practice. First, find the right foreground; a logical middle section usually follows and a fitting background makes the image complete. As you set up your photograph according to this guideline, you can think about any number of details. How should the camera be positioned to get the best angle? How high should the camera be? How much of the image should the sky occupy? All of these questions—plus many more—have an impact on the final result. If you’re using a wide-angle lens, shifting the camera even half an inch can have a drastic effect on the photo angle. If the effect is successful you will create a smooth flow from the foreground to the background of your image, and beyond.

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Medium 9781933952109

The Size of the Studio

Cyrill Harnischmacher Rocky Nook ePub

Internal Camera Flash: Not convincing. In addition, the flash is much too weak to ensure a great enough depth of field.

Rear Curtain Internal Flash: (Fill-in Flash) Slightly better with the incorporation of natural light, but the shadows running in two directions are distracting.

Off-Camera Flash: The shadows are more natural, but very hard. However, the external flash unit is much stronger and allows for a greater depth of field.

Off-Camera Flash and Diffuser: Beautiful, soft light without any distracting reflections on the shiny surface of the globe.

Big Softbox: Almost perfect. The balls look round; only the shadows are still a little dark.

Big Softbox and White Cardboard Reflector: Now everything is perfect. This image was taken with only one external flash unit.

Whether in portraits or tabletop photography, hard shadows are often distracting. However, with a little effort you can produce much softer light and shadows. This does not necessarily mean investing in an expensive studio strobe lighting system. Simply by the correct placement of flash units and softening devices, you can achieve a significantly more natural looking light.

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