What makes a good photo?
1) Use of light – manipulating light, using artificial light
2) Composition – where things are within the frame (rule of thirds)
3) Timing – choosing when to press the shutter
4) Subject Matter – what you are taking a photo of
5) Having something to communicate – better with a message, telling a story, etc.
Use of Light
Light can help change the mood of a photo, in the way we use them. Key light is the main light source, we then have back lights, and fill lights to help get rid of shadows. Using one key light is known as low key lighting, this means that one part of the subject is within the light, and harsh shadows around. This type of light can add a sense of mystery, but can be very artistic. High key uses a combination of light sources, where there is lighting around the subject to reduce shadows. Using different lights can alter the moods of a photo, changing meaning and perception.
Here are some examples, you can see by the left picture that the light is coming from behind the subject which has the ability to create a silhouette. It is a more creative approach with the use of low key lighting framing the person. Whereas on the right you can see a picture within a studio that has lights all around the subject lighting her as well as the background. It has been edited to look old, but is a beautiful photo used with high key lighting.
This is about how we spilt the frame up into thirds and have points of interest on the lines to give a balanced picture. But some photos can break this rule, and using your own artistic ideas can make the photo better depending on what you are taking a photo of. You can see by the example below how composition can work. In this particular photo, you have the rule of thirds where there is the man at one side and the Eiffel tower on the other. This frames the picture and makes your eyes look at the man first (in bold), and then on the tower in the background.
Timing is crucial when taking photos, as it depends on what you capture. Choosing the right moment can be more effective and can help to grab the right moment. There does have to be a level of planning, such as your environment and how to capture the right photo you want. My favourite photographer Ray Collins creates beautiful pieces with waves, and captures the most amazing beasts at the waves crest. He times this by trying to take the photo just because the waves collapse, allowing him to capture different styles and shapes.
You can use filters and focus to capture a photo. The camera has these tools to make your photography as good as possible. The photo on the right has been captured up in the clouds, and has a black and white filter over the top. Using black and white can enhance textures, and make shapes stand out more rather than colours.
What you are focusing on in the photo, and what then this is conveying. Some photos, especially famous captures, usually are inspired by events going on within the frame. The photo on the right is a well-known photo taken in Vietnam, whilst the war was on. It is dark and captures the horrible terror in the children’s faces making a strong emotional connection between it and the viewer.
Best way to use priority settings is to use AV or TV (for Canon), or S (Nikon). This allows you to use you own choices when it comes to focus and sharpness of the photo.
It is known that the larger the aperture the bigger the lens, this determines the depth of field, and how much is in focus. The smaller the aperture, the less light passes through the lens, therefore less is in focus in the background. When it has a larger aperture, the more is in focus in the background.
Depth of field means what is in focus, many photos for portraits only focus on one subject, and the background is out of focus. But you can also have a greater depth of field allowing the background to be in focus as well.
Shutter speed determines how fast the camera takes the photo. So if you were taking a picture of fast moving animals or cars, you would use a higher shutter speed to capture enough light and subject whilst it is still in focus, and freeze it. The slower the shutter speed, the slower the photo is taken, you would need a tripod to keep the camera still. But you can capture more movement using this idea.
ISO determines the exposure of your settings, it is how sensitive the camera is to the light. If you are shooting in low life conditions, you will need a higher number to capture all of the light. But on holiday you would choose a lower setting to avoid over exposure.
Long Depth of Field
In this picture, you can see that I have used a long depth of field. By using this technique, it opens up the picture to ensure all within the photo is in as much focus as possible. It is best with landscape shots if there is a lot in the background that you want to keep in focus.
You can see that a different focus has been used for this photo. In this instance, the background is out of focus and the main subject in front is clear. The eyes easily then centre on to the subject making it stand out.
The photo I will edit is the Otter here. You can see that it needs some tidy up, so I will explain how I will do this to make the photo better. There are some smudges that need to go, and maybe some cropping too!
First I will open Photoshop and select my photo. To do this I go to FILE – OPEN – SELECT FILE. The photo number I will choose is DSC02152.
Once the photo is open I will create a layer by pressing CtrL – J. This will help me to edit my work and not damage the original photo. It is also better to keep track of work and go back on yourself if you need to. In the case that I do make a mistake, I can simply go to History and back track. Once I have the layer, I am going to crop the photo. To do this I will use the Cropping tool on the side. I will then merge the layers by pressing CtrL – Alt – E, and then make another new layer for what I want to do next.
I press enter to then get rid of the crop tool and apply. Next I am going to get rid of all the hazy blurs from the glass as it’s really distracting and dirty. To do this I will use the spot healing brush, and press the marks. I have zoomed into the picture by pressing CtrL – + or – to zoom out. I will clear up as much of the marks as I can. I will merge this layer together like last time and then make a new one.
Now to focus on the subject more I want to blur out the background a little more and make my otter stand out. To do this, I will go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur – Use the line to work out how blurred you want it, in this case I used 5.6 so its not over done, and then press OK. Now your photo will be blurred (but only on the layer), so to work around this and make the selected areas you want blurred click onto background and press Ctrl – J, this will create a background copy. After, move this layer on top so it should go Background Copy – Layer 1 – Background. Use the mask tool to help you on the background copy layer, but pressing the rectangle with a circle in the middle down the bottom on the layer area. Then go to the brush and use this to blur the areas you want. I have done this very subtly to this photo so it doesn’t look too fake.
Now that I completed I am going to warm the photo up by playing around with exposure, and the colour wheels on the top of the layers. I will create another new layer, and first play with the exposure. After I will then go to the colour balance to warm the photo and bring out certain colours I want. In this example, I have brought out the colour in the otters fur, so you can see the texture clearer as well.
What I have noticed is that the water behind the otter is looking very green and dirty, so I am going to paint over this with a blue shade. First, I will make a new layer, and select a darker blue with the paint brush. I will paint around the pool and then merge everything together like before.
Now I have completed my photo I want to make sure it is all saved, so I go to FILE – SAVE AS, and save in a file I want to. Below you will find the before and after photo. You can see the difference in colour and where I have cropped it.
PPI (Pixels Per Inch) is about the pixels within a photo found in a 1inch by 1 inch area on a screen. It is known for websites to use a PPI of 72 which isn’t a bad quality for a screen. If the photo itself was large it means it can take longer to load which can be a pain. A printed image however, will use a PPI of 300 because of the colours a printer uses.
Photos can come in different formats depending on what you saved them as or how they come. A JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is mostly used for digital cameras. This type of format also can support varying levels of compressions, and this is great for web graphics.
There is also a format known as PNG, Portable Network Graphics. This type of format supports lossless data compression. It was created as an improved non-patented replacement for a GIF, and is used widely of the internet.
Not only this but there is also formats called a TIF. This format is common for exchanging raster graphics between programs, this is known when using scanner files.
There is also the GIF. This stands for graphic interchange format, and is a file format commonly used for images on the internet and software programs. GIF’s use lossless compressions that does not degrade the quality of the image. However, they can only use a maximum of 256 colours.
Out of all of the above, the most useful to use on the web is a JPEG and GIF, because they are clearer and have been used more widely across the internet than other formats.
The difference between a CMYK and a RGB is that a CMYK is a photo used through a printer, so an image you use when printing, whereas a RGB is images we see on a screen. Their PPI as I have stated before are different because they are used differently.
When editing images for websites it is known to use AdobeRGB. This software is developed by Adobe Systems, and designed to bring together most of the colour achievable on CMYK colour printers but my using RBG primary colours on a device such as a computer display.
When it comes to colour depth, it means the greater the colour depth the more colours are available. You can see on the table below how colour depth works. The more BIT the more colour are available to see.
Below you will find the normal shot, I took. It uses low key lighting so that the subjects are made into a silhouette. The bowl is empty, and so what I plan to do is drag objects into the photo to give a mysterious mood to it. You can see that the model is bent over slightly, almost in contemplation and thought. So using other photos I am simply going to open them and drag them into the frame where I want them to be. I will then erase the outside and it’s opacity to it all blends together and then merge everything into one photo. Below this first shot you will then see what the new one looks like.
So you can see, though I haven’t edited it dramatically I have very faintly added another photo into the frame where the bowl is, and some birds around to link the two together. It makes it look like the birds are coming out of the bowl from the other scene, and flying around the models head as though they are flying around him. This brings a very dark and magical mood that is very dark.
WAP – Wireless Application Protocol. This is a technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. It is a browser for mobile devises.
GPRS – General Packet Radio Service. This is a packet-based wireless communication service that promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps and means connections to the internet for phone and computer users.
Web 2.0 – Phrase meaning we can interact with websites. This is the second stage of the internet, characterised especially by the change from static web pages to dynamic content, and growth of social media. ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service. This is the standard way to send messages include multimedia content to and from a mobile phone over a network.
SMS – Short Message Service. This is a text message service of most phone, and web systems. It uses standard communication protocols to enable devices to connect. IM – Instant Message
VOIP – Voice over Internet Protocol. This is where quality internet connection allows you to get phone services delivered through your Internet connection instead of from your local phone company. FORUMS – Message board, online discussion, hold discussion
GSM – Global system for Mobile Communications. This is to describe the protocols for second generation digital cellular networks used by phones.
Domain Names & URLS – Website name, and address. This means you can type this address into a browser and it will send you to the website or page connected to it.
Micro-blogging – Short, frequent microblogs uploaded. This is also the activity or practise of making short, frequent posts to a little blog.
Video Conferencing – Video call between two or more people. This is like skype, and FaceTime where you can talk to someone face to face through a video system.
QR code – Quick Response Codes. This is a machine readable code consisting of black and white squares. This helps to store URLS or other information, such as Snapchat a platform that uses your camera to send messages to people, and you can scan their code to connect with them.
NFC – Near Field Communication. This is a set of standards for portable devices. It allows them to establish radio communications, passing data from one device to another by touching them or being close together.
How I use the above in day to day life:
In day to day life I use GPRS when there is no Wi-Fi on my phone, and when texting use SMS services. I always use IM on Facebook for convenience and Bluetooth to connect to another device, such as when I want to play music out loud on a Bose speaker. To find websites I will always use URLS online into a search engine such as Google, and when I want to speak to my friends face to face I use Video Conferencing such as FaceTime. Here is an example.
I also use email. This is important for work as it means I can connect to work professionally, and companies if I have ordered something, or have questions. It is a more professional way to connect with someone, especially if you do not know them or they are new employers. It is easy to attach files and photos as well, which is why many other companies use this to transfer work or updates.
Not only this, but I also have a Twitter account, This allows me to share what I am up to and get in contact with friends and even famous people. I can voice my opinion and follow the things I like such as films or brands.
You can see with this chart what social media I use most. A lot of the time is Facebook, here I speak to friends, watch videos, and add things to my profile that I like. The second most is Instagram and snap chat, both of these means I can take photos or upload old ones to friends. Thirdly is email, text, and twitter. I do not use these a lot, but I use my email to connect to companies or employees. My twitter is used to update what I’m doing and where I have been and even some photos, and then text is simply me talking to friends or family .
Documentary Shots and Creative Use
The shots taken on any film is important because it helps to express emotion, and make what you are filming best visible to the audience. The audience can be more engaged with the film if it is shot in the best way possible. I have used some of Louis Theroux work and documentaries so that we can pull apart how the documentary has been formed. You will find the first shot below.
The above shot is taken from The Most Hated Family in America. In this shot you can see Louise talking to one of the members of the Church. They are discussing signs, as he has just walked into their home to find them all in the corner. We can see both people here, which makes us engage in both of their reactions as they talk, as they do not agree, and from this we can see opinion, and form opinion for ourselves. There is no music in this scene as for now, they are just talking so nothing is distracting us. Though it flips from one person to another, when it gets controversial and we can see both people, it helps us to engage more.
Within the shot above, it is taken from the same documentary as before. Here they are discussing the signs as they are being made and why they make certain ones. Here you can see that we are, again, at a very similar angle as before with the camera man to the side of the subjects. The reason this choice may have been chosen, could be so that the viewer is almost there as a bystander watching this discussion. This therefore makes it more engaging. Similarly to last time as well, there is no music.
The scene above is taken before we see Louis interviewing another person. This shot gives us the look like we are walking into the room with him, and are engaging within the conversation. There is also stereotypical American music playing including all the trumpets. The reason this type of music may have been chosen, may be because it refers to the place Louis is in (America), making it iconic. All of the scenes above were taken as long shots, this means we do not miss any of the conversation until it ends, making it a lot more engaging for the viewer.
What techniques have been used to make the video engaging?
- Shots of the person speaking as well as what they are doing (typing), or what they are looking at (their work).
- Sound bridge
- Medium shot of them and their name
- Subtitles for welsh
- Different focuses, like the subject and then the camera moves out of focus to show the background
What kind of planning did you think went into a video like this?
- Different types of shots such as what ones they could use
- Adding in text into the scenes, like their names and company they work for
- Translation into welsh to add in
- Where and when to use hand held shots, and then tripods where necessary
- Who, and also how to create a shot that will not include people who do not want to be filmed
Things to consider for your subject
- Full Sentences
- Forget about the camera
- OK to read answers
- Did I forget anything?
- Short sound bites
Explain this too them before you start filming, it can make the subject feel more comfortable, and make the whole interview a lot cleaner.