Photography Activity

Light 1: Outside
Light 1: Outside
Light 2: Inside
Light 2: Inside
Focus 1: Foreground
Focus 1: Foreground
Focus 2: Background
Focus 2: Background
Composition 1: Thirds
Composition 1: Thirds
Composition 2: Lead Room
Composition 2: Lead Room

I have to admit this was one of the more difficult design projects I’ve undertaken. I’ve never considered myself much of a photographer and while I tried to make the best use of my digital camera, I’m afraid that it is a bottom of the line basic model that probably isn’t the best for taking quality shots. That said, l appreciated learning some very useful techniques for lighting, focus, composition, and Photoshop that I know will continue to serve me well. I’ve also been inspired to invest in a better digital camera for future use.

All of my original photos were vastly improved by with the Leveling and Vibrance/Saturation tools in Photoshop, which helped lighten them and generally improve the exposure. I was able to increase the depth of the blue sky in the first photo, which really made it pop. For my second inside photograph, I arranged a few knickknacks in front of our brick fireplace to serve as a dark and interesting background. However, the internal lighting in our house is not great, so I focused a camping light onto it for a better lighting effect.

My third and fourth photos were taken in my back yard with a trumpet vine blossom in the foreground and patio lights, palm, and citrus trees in the background. It took me many, many tries to learn how to use the focus on my camera to change between foreground and background focus, but eventually I mostly got the effect I was looking for.

The fifth photograph was a taken of the same fountain in photo 1, but from a different angle, with more of the fountain and hanging vines behind it. I framed the two tiers and central pillar of the fountain on grid lines. Upon reviewing the photo, I realized I could have framed it better if I’d placed the top of the vines nearer the top horizontal grid line, but it was already after dark and I was unable to re-shoot. My daughter, Laila, served as the subject of the 6th photograph. I framed her eye on the left vertical and top horizontal grid lines. In Photoshop I lightened up and sharpened several details of her face, which was a nice improvement over the original photo.

While working through the frustration of this project I came to appreciate how difficult it can be to take quality photos. I realized the vast majority of great photography does not happen by chance. Rather, it takes patience, practice, and the application of good design principles to produce great photographs.

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