On-Line Digital Photography Course
past St. Sulpice in the 6th, clad in blue jeans and
jaunty brolly, a mum pushes her baby through the soggy city
common enough scene, yet one which will never be repeated, not
with that woman, those jeans, that brolly, this photographer not
with those puddles, these thoughts or this photo. it's unique. I
know. I was there. Where were you?
I wanted to create a
hazy, mystical feeling to this shot. I was looking for both
softly muted but somehow saturated colours to accentuate the
dreamlike quality I wanted to convey.
I found an effect where
I could add soft fuzz and control the amount of halo effect
and some other parameters. You can see the halo clearly
around the umbrella and base of the pillar, but I make no
secret of using it. You can see darker areas in the shadow
area at the top of the shot, on the umbrella and jacket, and
on her jeans. The rest is just one gorgeous soft fuzz. This
sort of picture where there is really no pure black and
everything is light is called 'high key', by the way, and is
very effective in creating a soft, dreamy atmosphere.
The two key colours here are red and blue, with white from
the pillar and steps in the background setting them off.
are actually two colour-related diagonals here going in
exactly the same direction: the red of the umbrella going
down and left to the even softer reddy/pink on the wet
paving stones; and the blue of the jeans going up and right
to the guy above the umbrella in a very pale blue jacket.
This echo of the colours is important, as very often is the
case, and makes the photo stronger.
With a shot like this which was totally spontaneous
you can't do too much, but the fact that the woman
is on her way out of the shot (and the rain?) gives
a sense of being there and understanding how she was
The man's jacket and woman's jeans are more
up-and-down, while the umbrella and softly splodged
pinky paving stones are more horizontal, which is
The upright railings on the left are contrasted by
the barely perceptible horizontal lines of the steps
on the right. I can't say all of these things were
planned (they weren't!), but in retrospect we can
see how they all contribute to the overall effect.
- Rainy days are
ideal for great shots. Don't worry about dull lighting.
Position yourself strategically somewhere there are lots
of people hurrying by, much more interested in getting
out of the wet than in what you are doing.
- Messing around with the image
after can produce some amazing effects with those muted
colours or lovely reflections from the wet reflective
- People tend to pull some
interesting expressions when they are getting rained on
or trying to stay dry. Try to capture some of them!
Then comment on this
lesson with a link to your best result - we all want to see
- special effects
- have fun turning a boring or flat image of people in
the rain into something worthy of a romantic or funny
- colours - cloudy days
and rain tend to dull-down or mute colours... which is
great! Try a low-contrast, high-key image and see how
beautiful and atmospheric it can be!
- composition - take loads
of shots and don't worry too much about the composition
at this stage. Then look at them later at home and
decide which ones look best - you often get some
marvellous surprises at this stage you didn't even
notice at the time
~ Comment on this lesson in the Photo Blog
lesson belongs to the following sections...
~ under development ~