Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: #20 Review and Practice

This Compose Yourself Photo Challenge (CCY) Theme is #20 Review and Practice and will be open through April 26th, 2016.

5-gold-starsFor your assignment I would like to see at least 4-6 photos showing various compositional rules. Please tell us what rules you used in your photos.

Announcement:  Since WordPress pingbacks are not working properly right now, I would recommend you add a reply with your post link to your challenge entries so you will considered for features.  

Each week I will select several features from everyone who submits an entry.  And from those posts that I feature, I will grant one blogger the Gold Star Award.  To find out who was awarded the Gold Star Award and Features for this week, please see CCY Features Week #19 Geometry in Photography.

Essay

I have been throwing a lot of new ideas at all of you.  For this two week period I have decided to give us all a break and have let us practice and review what we have covered so far.  Since I have gotten a lot of new followers recently, I have a few tips and tricks for newer photographers.  You can find them at the bottom of this essay.

Here are the links to the previous nineteen challenges to remind you of all that we have covered so far:

What I would like to hear about and see in your photos for this challenge are your favorite compositional topics we have covered.  You can achieve this in a couple of different ways.

Review Your Personal Favorite Photos That You Have Previously Posted on Your Blog

Look through your photo gallery and select some of your favorite photos that you have posted on your blog, then determine which compositional rules are used in your photos.   You will be surprised at how many rules you are using.  Sometimes multiple rules are used within one photo.  Please explain which rule or rules fit your photo.

Here are a couple of my photos for examples.

All my photo have at least two types of rules going on.  The common rule within each of them is the Rule of Thirds.  That has to be one of my favorite rules.  It is so flexible.

This photo uses the bottom 2/3 of the photo. The different rows of dahlias are slightly diagonal.
This photo uses the bottom 2/3 of the photo. The different rows of dahlias are slightly diagonal.
There are a bunch of triangles in this photo. Plus the chewing jaw is on the left third of the photo.
There are a bunch of triangles in this photo. Plus the chewing jaw is on the left third of the photo.  For the most part this is a fairly warm colors with the brown and hints of yellow.
The reflection causes symmetry in this photo. Also rule of thirds apply since the water lily and its reflection on are on the top and bottom thirds of the photo.
The reflection causes symmetry in this photo. Also rule of thirds apply since the water lily and its reflection on are on the top and bottom thirds of the photo.  Plus Pink and Green are contrasting colors.

Take New Photos or Use Photos You Have Not Posted Before on Your Blog

Pick a couple of favorite rules and find photos that you haven’t posted yet, or take new photos that match those rules.  Please explain which rule or rules that fit your photo.

I am showing some of my photos for as an example.

Simplicity is all about this photo. It also is in the bottom third of frame. The colors are basically contrasting.
Simplicity is all about this photo. It also is in the bottom third of frame. The colors are basically contrasting.
The tree trunk has a lot of vertical lines. Plus there are some geometrical shapes in this photo as well.
The tree trunk has a lot of vertical lines. Plus there are some geometrical shapes in this photo as well.
This is an interesting photo because it has two leading lines, the ship and the bridge. Because of these leading lines, it creates a lot of shares and rectangles. This photo is basically all blue and white which are cooler colors.
This is an interesting photo because it has two leading lines, the ship and the bridge. Because of these leading lines, it creates a lot of shares and rectangles. This photo is basically all blue and white which are cooler colors.

General Photography Tip and Tricks For New Photographers

Tip One:  Use your automatic setting on your camera. 
041116ccy_1You paid good money for your camera, so let it be your brains, at least for a while.  When using the Auto function on your camera, the shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO settings are all calculated by your camera.  This way you can concentrate on composition.  In the one and only photography class I ever took, the instructor said you must start with a good photograph.  If you take lousy photographs, no amount of post-processing will help.

Tip Two:  Declutter your background.

When you take the initial photo, find an angle that will give you the least amount of background clutter (noise).  When that is impossible, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Use your zoom to focus on just the object(s) you want to photograph
  • Get closer to the object, if possible.
  • Use the crop tool in your post-processing software.  If you choose this method, keep plenty of space around the object in your photograph for your to have your choice of crop.  I am a big fan of cropping.

 Tip Three:  Lighting.

There are a couple basic rules whether you work with lighting indoors,outdoors, close up or far distances.  You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get good lighting.  Placement of lights is the key.

For example, picture a clock with the round face and hands.  Your subject is at 12:00 and you are at 6:00.  Try and have the brightest light or  sun be at 3:00 or 9:00.

If you are taking photos of people, don’t have them stand or sit straight in front of the camera.   Again going back to the clock, have their bodies at 1:00 or 11:00 with a slight turn of the head and upper body.  You will get much nicer lines that way.

There are two types of lighting you really want to avoid, especially if you are new to photography.  You never want to have the sun or light directly behind the subject or have the only lighting be directly behind you. These photos are a little more tricky too capture well.

This dahlia is actually a darker red burgundy color, although with the sun directly overhead you would never know it.
This dahlia is actually a darker red burgundy color, although with the sun directly overhead you would never know it.

For outdoor lighting, avoid photographing anything when the sun is directly overhead. The sun will flatten your photograph and you will lose the intensity of color.   You want the sun angle closer to the horizon to get the best effects, so early morning and late afternoon are usually your best times for photography.  If you are photographing small subjects, like flowers, you can always move your body so you shade the item.

Tip Four:  Avoid the colors red or magenta.

I have found that these two colors are the hardest to photograph without causing some kind of “bleeding” especially if the lighting is not good.  So if you are taking photos of people, don’t have them wear those colors.  Neutral or earth tone colored clothes are best.  If you are taking photos of flowers, and many are red or magenta, make sure there is no sunlight on them at all.  Shade works well for the most part except when the flowers are dark red or dark magenta. For small objects, you can always move your body between the light source.  If you camera is capable of shooting in RAW format, your reds and magentas won’t bleed nearly as much.

Upcoming Challenges

  • #21 Landscapes (starts 4th Wednesday of April)
  • #22 Guide the Viewer (starts 2nd Wednesday of May)
  • #23 Brightest Spot (starts 4th Wednesday of May)
  • #24 Balance (starts 2nd Wednesday of June)

Qi (energy) hugs

Cee

23 Comments

  1. The face that alpaca is making made me laugh so hard! Thank you for these great tips. This review and practice theme will give me the chance to get in some of the themes that I missed, like the geometry. I can’t believe I spaced it, although I’ve been spacing a lot of things lately!

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  2. I learn SO much from you. Thank you for that. I only wish I’d read this post before my DoorScursion at noon, with the sun overhead. *sigh*

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  3. Okay now my head is spinning, Cee. This has been very hard for me since it uses a part of my brain I rarely use while writing, doing art or photography. Yes, I’ve learned a lot but it still makes me dizzy to think of incorporating it all. You know me. If it looks right it is finished. I might just post favorite pics and let viewers interpret them. Or, I may do the assignment right like the good student I used to be!!! xo J

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