Monday, July 27, 2009

Playing with tiers of graphic information ... vice just taking pictures.

Most new photographers focus their attention on their subjects, believing that if they light them well and keep them in focus that somehow this ‘image of a thing’ will reflect how they feel. This doesn’t work. It’s just a picture of thing.
Worse yet is the fact that most new photographers ignore the extraneous graphic information littered throughout their image. If it’s not part of the subject, they don’t see it.
Background clutter can hide any type of subject. It draws attention away from intent and confuses an already softly spoken message. The photographer has, in effect, made a whisper of what could have been a song.
The problem is that we see only one thing (one subject) at a time. We’re oblivious to most everything else. When something strikes our fancy we point our camera at it, completely unaware of any distractions in front of or behind it. It’s like trying to talk to someone across a crowded room. Sure they can see you, your lips are moving, but they have no idea what you’re trying to say. Everyone else, every voice, every distraction is in the way.

The answer is simple: if you want better photographs then pay attention to what you allow into the frame. Each piece of this graphic puzzle is important. Every line, shape, tone, color and pattern is vital. If you think great pictures are made of great subjects, you’re wrong. It doesn’t work like that. The subjects appear great because the background allowed it.

This isn’t brain surgery. If there is anything that will take attention away from your subject, it will be in the background. Great photographers use everything that shows up in the viewfinder, nothing is left to chance. They don’t take their backgrounds for granted. A choir singing one song is much easier to understand than a bunch of people jabbering amongst themselves. So clean up your act. Stop worrying about cameras, lenses and sensors and start thinking about you include in the frame. Break free of your ‘subjects-only’ box and your reliance on gear and start seeing the world as a set of graphic tiers. Look at everything in the frame and make those pieces work for you, instead of against you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.