Framing My Shots

Before taking the camera out, I just want to look further how framing my shots can have different effects to the audience.

Framing is a technique used by photographers to draw attention to a subject by blocking other parts of an image.

The Benefits 

  • Giving the image context
  • Giving images a sense of depth with layers
  • Leading the eye towards your main focal point
  • Exciting the audience

Frames come in all shapes and sizes, and can include shooting through branches, tunnels & windows or even people. The question the photographer must ask them self is ‘will this add to or take away from the image’. If it adds, then consider leaving the frame. However if it subtracts from the image, then frame your shot differently.

Also consider whether the frame should be in focus or not. In some cases, a nice blurred frame will add depth and mood to the shots. So consider the aperture value to manipulate the depth of field.

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Black and White Photography Research

I wanted to look at black & white photography in more depth to distinguish key components that I can take and use in my own work.

The image below shows a close up of a Lion. The framing draws the audiences eye to the cats eyes, and the gaze engages the reader. The image is sharp and in focus, with ever hair giving texture and clarity. I love the contrast between black and white, which adds interest to the design.

 

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This image has an “infrared” effect, as if it was shot at night. This is something to consider with my design, as I plan to use an infrared effect to imply the image was shot at night.

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I like how direct the position of the cat is. The focus again is on the eyes, drawing the reader into the cats gaze and engaging them further. The black background gives good contrast to the black and white cat. The image has been taken with a low f-stop value, as you can see the shallow depth of field as the cats body leads off into the distance.

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Magazine Grid Layouts – Research

To strengthen my knowledge of layouts, I wanted to refresh my memory and delve deeper into grid layouts, and how a hierarchy importance of an article can me maximised using grids.

Golden Section

A relationship between two numbers that has been used in Western art and architecture for more than 2000 years.

The formula for the golden section is a : b = b : (a+b).

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This means that the smaller of two elements (such as the shorter side of a rectangle) relates to the larger element in the same way that the larger element relates to the two parts combined. In other words, side a is to side b as side b is to the sum of both sides. Expressed numerically, the ratio for the golden section is 1 : 1.618.

It is supposed to be the most natural spot to place an image, as the readers eye sits most naturally on this point.

Single Column Grids

Screenshot 2017-01-10 11.15.32.pngThis is the most simplest for of grid design. I consists of a single column of text contained by margins. This is quite unappealing and is rarely used in design

Multi Column Grids

This provides flexibility whilst also keeping a strong backbone to the design. It helps to divide the hierarchy of articles by balancing text and imagery. It creates zones in which content can sit comfortably in, and overall more aesthetically pleasing.

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Black & White Photography

Black and white photography has a sense of nostalgia to it. It reminds us of what photography used to be like, and how far it has become.

I think this message is perfect for my book, as it adds a mythical element to the subject, whilst also achieving strong dynamic contrast.

Before taking my shots, I want to think about the following to achieve a successful outcome:

  • Focus on contrast
  • Focus on texture
  • Use photo filters
  • Try long exposure

 

Clipping Paths, Layer Masks & Image Tracing – Photoshop/ Illustrator

After gathering my images and looking back at my sketched designs, I set about isolating the cat from the background to use on white paper. My book is black and white, so I will alter the saturation and colour channels. However, my initial task was to create the path around the cat to maintain the detail of the cat but isolate it from the background. This would be really easy if it were on a plain background, However the busy background will make it tricky.

So below is the image of the statue of the cat that I wanted to clip. I started by using the magic wand tool to make a rough selection around the cat.

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I then hit “Q” on the keyboard to get a quick selection mask. This enabled be to tidy up any parts I had missed. This is almost like another layer of refinement of the overall selection.

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I then hit “Q” again to exit the selection mask. giving me a decent selection but not as tight to the body as I’d like. I went to select and mask to refine the edge and maintain the detail within the cat. I manipulated the sliders to get a pretty tight selection. I used a variety of different backgrounds to make sure the selection was clean

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In output settings, I hit new layer with layer mask. This enabled me to tweak edges with a very soft brush, just by painting in black and white on the layer mask. Below is the outcome of all the refinement.

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I then saved as a .psd to maintain the layer structure and transparency of the clipped artwork. I then imported it into illustrator, where I imaged traced the image. The brief said we can be as arty as we like, and I feel this arty vibe gives it a touch of fantasy, whilst combining the book with “genuine” images of cats seen in the wild.

I took this process with two images I had taken of the cat

The Outcome – (Layout to be tweaked)

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Sourced Images – Conspiracy Theories

After conducting my extensive research into photography and gathering all my inspiration. I took my new camera out around surrounding countryside hotspots in Kent & Sussex. One of the most interesting outings was to Bewl Water Reservoir over the holiday period. It was freezing cold and darkness was about to descend, perfect for a spooky misty scene.

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I took all the shots in camera raw as opposed to jpeg to make sure all the tonal data is maintained and not compressed like a jpeg would. This will enable me to further manipulate the colours in the post production process.

I also played around with the exposure time, attempting to create motion blur from a low shutter speed.

I also managed to locate a fantastic bronze statue that will be great for my final piece. I went over to Chilstone in Fordcombe, Tunbridge Wells. I took multiple images various angles to make sure I had loads to chose from in post production. I made sure if anything, I underexposed as opposed to over exposing the subject. I did this because it’s easier to get detail back from the shadows, rather than reducing the highlights and overexposed areas.

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Inspiration – Conspiracy Theories

Before setting off with the camera and planning my photography, I wanted to look at the style of photography that I’m looking to imitate, understanding the emotions and messages the audience is receiving. I’m going to look at a series of images of wild cats in the uk, analysing what elements work well and what I can take from this research to implement in my photography.

 

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I find this image quite striking. There is a lot of motion blur, implying the animal is fast. Although the background is so blurred, you can tell the animal is in a natural environment. The cat blends in with the colours of the background, making him blend in and seem less obvious. The animal looks as if it’s hunting and running towards its pray. Interestingly, the animal is framed in the lower left part of the image, spreading across almost two thirds of the horizontal width. I found it interesting that the legs appear to be cut off in the frame, however, I think this has be done purposefully, to show how difficult it is to get a glimpse of the animal, and injecting fear.

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This cat has been shot from a long distance and this can be seen in the grain of the image. This tells the audience that the animal is wild and the photographer took care not to approach the cat. The dark cat is almost a black silhouette in against the dark shadow behind. However, The audience can distinguish the shape of the cat from its pointy ears and feline figure.

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Again, the image above has been shot from a long way, and the image is of very poor quality. Although the photographer is providing evidence to back up the claim of wild cats in the UK, he has also added doubt in the audiences mind due to a poor quality image. The dark cat again can be identified by its long tail and stance from prior knowledge of cats.

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Although this may seem comical, the idea of using a statue may actually be quite effective in my own project as it’s pretty unrealistic to find a wild cat in the UK in such a short time. I may use a single shot like this, or, I may isolate the cat statue and create a composite of different images.

What I can take from this research?

  • Motion Blur
  • Using cat statue
  • Image quality? Blur?
  • Cat silhouette
  • Framing of the shot – Where & Why?