On-Line Digital Photography Course
Out Of Art"
art or photo exhibition isn't the easiest thing to photograph.
You can't take a straightforward picture of someone else's
picture because that is meaningless in terms of creativity. You
have to try and capture some sort of interaction between the
viewers and the pictures which does actually say something
original, whilst still respecting the original work or happening.
This crazy shot has one of
the strangely disproportioned visitors emanating enough radiance
to herald the second coming, while another shadier figure is
content to just look on bemused. Even the photos in the
exhibition itself are joining in with the fun. Quite disturbing
You would be quite
surprised at how boring this event actually was,
photographically speaking. I don't mean the photos on
display, which were great. I mean the opportunities for
creating a memorable shot. It was one of those art
collective type events, where bare prints were attached to
washing lines with clothes pegs like so many drying socks
swaying in the breeze. Admirers, the curious and 'friends of
the artist' milled around while I told myself 'Hey, you're a
photographer... what can you do with this, then?'.
I decided to try and
give the pictures some life of their own, and again try and
integrate some of the visitors in a weird, supernatural type
of shot. I'm pretty pleased with the result, but I couldn't
really have predicted how it would turn out - that's one of
the joys of photography.
The bright figure's head and neck are nicely framed by four
of the photos on the black backdrop. Although he is looking
rather out of the picture, the space between him and the
left-hand side is filled with a very dark face which creates
a marvellous contrast.
The large bright part
bottom right is countered by the same bright part at the
top, and the little sliver of brightness bottom left helps
maintain the balance.
two pictures which seem to be emanating rays of light in the
top left quarter are particularly well placed around the
smoking head, and are balanced by the four less prominent
pictures on the right hand side.
You can see how
important balance and contrast are in creating an effective
As scientific principles
and a bit of luck would have it, this photo reduced down to an
effective range of warm colours from rich sepia and deep orange
through to very pale yellowy cream.
This is a characteristic
of the lighting in use here, but it nevertheless lends itself to
warm, intimate and atmospheric pictures.
One of the best ways of
getting a striking result in a situation where not much is going
on is to zoom in or out with your lens as you take the shot.
With a lowish ISO like 400
you have loads of time to play with as the diaphragm stays open
trying to let in enough light. If the exposure is taking a
second or so, you might want to start zoomed in on a picture or
a person for about half a second, then zoom out for the other
half second. This gives you a strong image of the picture or
person combined with a ghostly whizzing effect during the zoom
not normally allowed and in general gives awful results
unless you are really doing something creative with it.
Then comment on this
lesson in the
Photo Blog with a link to your best result - we all want to see
- Next time you are in an
exhibition of any kind, make the exhibits interact
with the visitors in some way. This could be as simple
as someone gazing at a figure which seems to also be
gazing back. Remember, nothing is actually real
in a photo, and you can do anything you want.
- Use unusual angles to add your
personal take on somebody else's creation. Hold the
camera up in the air or take the shot from ground level
looking up people's legs and noses as they admire the
- Zoom in and out as you squeeze
the trigger to add movement to a static scene.
- atmosphere - sometimes
you have to inject some life into a rather boring
situation - try to imagine what you could do afterwards
to add atmosphere and choose your composition and
- composition - sometimes
you will decide on some elements of the composition
later, as you crop the shot, but don't forget basic
elements such as framing the main subject in some way
and maintaining balance
- colour - deep oranges
and browns tell you that you are in some gloomy bar or
interior space somewhere, even if it isn't actually the
case! Be aware of what your camera does automatically
with different light sources such as direct sunlight,
shade, fluorescent and tungsten, and become familiar
with the white balance control if you want to use
- technique - zooming in
and out with a slow shutter speed is a great way to add
movement and excitement to static shots - but this is
much easier with an SLR and a detachable lens
~ Comment on this lesson in the Photo Blog
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