Monday, April 07, 2014

Dissecting a photograph

Photo #1

I wanted to walk you through a few photos and let you see what I think makes the photos work.

In photo #1 there are a few things that I think help make this photo work. Here is a quick bullet list of things that I think help make this work.

  • Rule-of-thirds—The man gesturing is on the right top thirds
  • Good use of Light—The light is coming onto their faces and brightest where the two men are in the photo
  • Gesture—The mans gesture helps you know that he is talking to the man next to him. also the little girl's finger under her nose shows possible sniffles. The little girls eyes also redirect you back to the man gesturing
  • Shallow Depth-of-field [DOF]—The photo drops off in sharpness as you go back into the photo. This helps keep your attention towards the front to the man
Photo #2
I really like this image of the ladies talking. Who can't resist good "Window Light?" The rule-of-thirds is also working here. Shallow DOF keeps your attention on the lady listening. Catchlights in the eyes give life to her expressions. The hands communicate tension. I feel like she is dealing with some stress due to the position of the hands. With her head leaning on the wall I also feel like she is relaxed and comfortable with this other lady. The other lady is slightly taller and her body position and the lady listening to her communicates some authority.

Photo #3
Street photography is a lot of grab shots. Here the wall is helping communicate the neighborhood where this young boy lives. You can tell that education is important due to the signage. The little boy is relaxed in his body posture.

The photographer has a lot of space behind the boy and very little in front. This helps create the tension that the future isn't as hopeful. The boys expression is questioning and wondering who this photographer is and thus communicates to an audience a little tension. The color palette is simple yet the colors communicate Caribbean. 

Photo #4
Photo #4 is of NBC news reporter Robert Hager covering a tornado disaster. Here the DOF is increased to be sure the viewer looks towards the debris in the background. You can tell Hagar is waiting to go on the air and talk about the situation. 

This is where the elements of the videographer and his gear helps tell the story and is in essence helping to frame Robert Hager and the destruction.

Photo #5
In this photo #5 the subject is dead center, please pardon how this sounds, but this is why I put the subject in the center. This is normally what you want to avoid, but here it helps create even more tension. The edges of the photo are trying to contain everyone in the photo. The lack of color around the photo and then with the American flag center helps to really make it pop and draw the audience's attention.

Photo #6
Here the photo #6 is using color to help create interest and set the mood. the light is off too the side and lets the viewer see the design of the lamp post.

Photo #7
Using Rule-of-Thirds helped with the composition in photo #7. Also using a shallow DOF the eye goes to the sharpest part of the photo which is the guys face. Here the expression of the man and the man he is looking at keep you going back to the obvious friendship here between the two guys.

Photo #8
The light on the video camera in photo #8 helps start the eye looking and then you look for where the it is pointed. Also all the cameras on the left are helping to direct the eye to the right and the guys holding the trophy.  Here the photographer has moved as close as possible and basically trying to contain everything in the frame. 

Can you break down each of your photos? Take a moment today and really study not just your photos but those photos that catch your attention. Break them down so that later you can use some of those techniques in your photos.