Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photo makeover

My cousin posted on Facebook a photograph she had taken of a rose. With her permission, I offered some suggestions on how the image could be improved. I thought this might be helpful to others too, so am posting it here. Here's Tracey's original rose photo.
My initial observations: First, the rose is too centered, like a bullseye, which is a static composition. You want to lead the eye thru the image, coming to rest upon the subject of interest. Imagine your canvas divided in thirds, horizontally and vertically. Where the lines intersect is where to place the subject. Since we read from left to right, ideally you want to place the subject to the right, so the eye travels thru the image and stops there.

Introducing diagonals into the image creates leading lines and adds energy to the image. Tracey had a bit of a diagonal in the stem of the rose, but she can go further by tilting the camera when shooting, so the stem emerges from the bottom corner of the image.

The background is very busy, since all the leaves are in focus. Emphasize the center of interest by shooting with a wider open aperture and/or a longer lens, which will defocus the background.

I'd pump up the saturation and contrast to make the image really pop.

Compositional rule of thirds diagram for subject placement:Here's the image after saturation and contrast adjustments and some retouching. I found the highlights on the leaves to be distracting. Any lighter areas of an image will draw the eye. So I toned those down by cloning a darker green over those spots. There was a withered petal and other browned spots on the rose and foliage that I cleaned up because they were also distracting.

Here's the image with some blur added to the background to make the rose a more prominent center of interest. Ideally, this is better achieved by shooting with a shallow depth of field and/or longer focal length lens.

Here's the final image, cropped for closer, diagonal composition, and with a darker edge vignette added. Keep in mind that the image isn't as sharp here as it normally would be, since I was working from a low res image lifted from the web, then re-uploaded to blogger.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cute hats

While in Lynden last weekend for my nephew's graduation, I stopped by the Heritage Festival. Jo Kaseter of Me and Mom's Hats had a booth crammed full of the cutest hats in many styles and colors. These would be perfect for baby and childrens's portraits. You can visit her store at Pike Place Market or order online at her website http://www.seattlehats.com/

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Maternity wrap up

Becca and Chris welcomed baby Preston a bit early, and I'm looking forward to photographing his newborn session next week. Here's a couple from their maternity session. Becca has the best cheekbones! She's wearing one of my wrap tops, which took a couple tries to achieve the right look with the wrapping, but we got it done and she looks beautiful.