Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Photo Class #1

So I recently posted about how I thought so many blogs were ugly and had bad pictures. Sorry guys, but it's true. Thanks to Emma's comment though, I realized that many people would probably like to take better photos and just don't know how. So I thought I should help better the situation instead of complaining. I'm no pro or anything, but I do really like taking photos and would love to share the way I think about it.

My Photo Philosophy goes a little like this:
Photographs are more than mere representations of life, they contain a world of their own. When given an opportunity to "do" something new- to be art instead of just snapshot- they have the power to capture a lot more of the feelings emotional

One of my biggest pet peeves about photo taking is the 'line up.' You know what I'm talking about. Line up your friends with arms around each other and big smiles at the party... line up your family in front of the statue or fountain on your vacation, line up the bridesmaids and groomsman etc... We take these obligatory photos to supposedly capture and remember events... but does it work?

I like to think of the camera as another person in the room. It can do things that we can't. It can go low, high, see things from the side. Treat it as your own eye. When you're at a party, you don't go around lining people up in rows, stepping back and then talking to them. No. You sit on the couch, you stand by the food, you hug. Don't remove the camera to a cold, far off position. Instead let it become an intimate member of what is happening.

So how might you do this?? Well. I prepared a set of photos to explain what I'm talking about. It's just basically looking past the obvious and infusing life into the photo.

I wanted to capture what it felt to be at my desk this morning. I looked at all the things going on... computer with my current blog post, my half drunk coffee, my drawings, a stitch sample in progress, my colored pencils... all of these things 'happening.'

The obvious photo:
It's straight on, shows everything but is pretty flat. It's not a bad photo. It's in focus at least, but doesn't convey the excitement of what working at my desk is like, the energy of so many different tasks taking place, nor does it exhibit my sumptuous yarn.

So I thought a detail of the yarn might be nice. I tried to get it to show the computer too.

#1 Shows the swatch, but still looks kinda flat.

#2 Gets my coffee cup, which is good and the pencils add color...

#3 Gets the swatch close up, which is nice for knitters to get to see. Also, because the shot is closer some of the background is out of focus. Doesn't it seem to have a bit more energy?

#4 Is very similar to #3, but the swatch is lower accross the frame, which I like better. Just like how odd numbers tend to look better than evens , placing the focal point of your photo along the edge or corner rather than the middle, gives your eye a path to travel and just looks better somehow.

#5 I tried the other direction for kicks. I wanted to see if I could get my drawings, pencil and knitting book in too. I really like the string disappearing off the edge.

#6 The final attempt is a winner!! (In my book!)Sometimes it takes a few tries, which is why digital is so awesome. You can take a whole bunch of photos and find the best one. It doesn't cost anything or take that much more time.

What I like about this is that it's slightly off kilter. The orange pencil jumps out at me yet it's trapped under the book, which is interesting. I can see a hint of the drawings, my computer aglow, my coffee cup unfocused in the background and the knitting is there but not too much of a focus. It looks like I could be back for it at any moment right? This photo looks to me like what it feels like to be at work at my desk. That's what I wanted to accomplish! Yippee!

Now, will anyone be attending Photo Class #2????


Sarah said...

More! I will be in attendance every class. P.S. your guest room is ready whenever you can visit's light yellow with tons of pilows. Sorry I dropped the ball on September, but it looks like you've been busy. xoxo Sarah

Emma said...

I am definitely up for it!

lekkercraft said...

keep those photo tutorials coming! This is really useful and great, and I know that I for one am in need of as many tips as possible :)

hodge podge said...

great class, teach! i am eager to attend the next one; very inspiring. thanks! my request for next lesson is: how to photograph products for selling online. etsy has a cute video on the subject here:
but you have a lot to say too, i'm certain!