Part 2 - reposts from my guest blogger series on Meylah.com
Want to start reading from the first post? Go to Change the Way You See Small Object Photography - Part 1
Part 2: Change the Way You See Your Work (composition)
To continue the improvement of your small object photographs, let’s talk about taking a completely different approach to the composition of your photos.
Have you ever really looked at a great photo? Not just the featured object, but the way things are placed within the frame? The ones that really catch our eye generally have certain things in common:
- · The background does not compete with the item(s)
- · Objects are placed at an angle or off-center, not in the center of the frame
- · The main focal point is close to one of the corners of the photo
- · The object(s) fill the frame
While there are definitely exceptions to these rules, one of the easiest ways to create interest in your photos is to simply place your object(s) at an angle or just off of center. By doing this you create visual “movement” and depth within the frame which allows the viewer’s eye to focus on the main subject after following an easy, natural pattern around the image.
Why does this work? Let’s look at the “Rule of Thirds”:
In the visual arts, the “Rule of Thirds” states, “An image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds)
In the photo above, you’ll see 3 lines x 3 lines layered over the top of the photo, stretched to the ends of the photo. The pendant is placed in the lower right intersection of the grid. This creates a visual energy that is much more interesting to the eye than simply placing the pendant in the lower center of the frame.
The next time you are taking your photos, imagine this grid (some cameras actually have a setting that will place the grid on the screen) while you are composing you photos and see what happens.
You can also give these ideas a try:
- · Place your piece at a diagonal with an intersecting horizontal background line. This creates visual movement and more points of interest within the image.
- · Focus sharply on the main part of the object and allow the depth of field to blur the outer edges. Using depth of field to your advantage, you can further enhance your photo and draw your customer’s attention to the main focal point of your piece
- · Swirl your necklace chains in an “S” pattern away from the lens at an angle – curving lines are very pleasing to the eye. Think of how wind and water are depicted in a painting – these are the types of curves you want to emulate. Use of depth of field is good to try here too.
- · If you are used to placing your piece in the very center, try to see if you can angle the object or move your camera a little to one side. It’s amazing how a tiny change can make all the difference between a stagnant photo and a dynamic one!
The main point here is to experiment with your composition. Be daring. Take photos that are *too* close. Take photos at *extreme* angles. Then compare the visual interest in those shots to your standard photos. You might be surprised to find that what you once thought was “over the top” is actually the more interesting composition for your work!
Part 3: Change the Way You Use Your Camera (Technical)
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