Basic photography art composition and computer principles
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Basic photography— Art, composition, and computer principles. AEE 211 February 24, 2003. What makes these images effective?. Overview. Basic composition Mood and atmosphere Qualities of a good photo Basic composition Improving composition Working with the computer Files Scanning

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Basic photography art composition and computer principles l.jpg

Basic photography—Art, composition, and computer principles

AEE 211

February 24, 2003

Overview l.jpg

  • Basic composition

    • Mood and atmosphere

    • Qualities of a good photo

    • Basic composition

    • Improving composition

  • Working with the computer

    • Files

    • Scanning

    • Printing

Creating mood l.jpg
Creating mood

  • Overall feel of a picture

  • Created by

    • Perspective

    • Color

    • Focus (isolation and distance)

    • Weather and light

      • Sunrise/sunset

      • Misty, rainy days

      • Sun vs. overcast

Characteristics of a good photo l.jpg
Characteristics of a good photo

  • Shape

  • Line

  • Pattern

  • Texture

  • Size and space

Shape l.jpg

  • Tends to be noticed first, before texture and pattern

  • Easiest and most recognizable composition tool

    • Shape helps create a mood/character for the picture

    • Search for the unconventional or surprise shape in objects

Creating shape l.jpg
Creating shape

  • Common—

    • use backlighting to create a silhouette

  • Uncommon—

    • side lighting with simple background

    • underexpose to focus on shape vs. color or texture

Slide9 l.jpg

  • Lines create

    • Shape

    • Pattern

    • Depth

    • Perspective

  • Line leads the eye

    • Focal point/subject

    • Diagonals

    • S-curves

Line creates perspective l.jpg
Line creates perspective

  • Lines into the horizon show depth and perspective for the viewer

  • Vanishing point

    • Point at which lines converge and vanish in to the horizon

    • Place off-center

  • Close-ups decrease perspective while wide-angles can exaggerate it

Pattern l.jpg

  • Orderly combination of shape, line, or color

  • Pattern can help echo the character of a photo

  • Catching attention

    • Random patterns

    • Slight variation in a pattern

    • Pattern in common places

Texture l.jpg

  • Adds realism (sense of touch) to a photo

  • Sharp (hard) light highlights texture

  • Especially important for close-up and b/w shots

  • Side lighting highlights texture

  • Most portraits use front lighting to decrease texture on skin

Using light for depth l.jpg
Using light for depth

  • Sometimes hard light is inappropriate for illustrating shape and depth

  • Soft side lighting can give a sense of shape and depth without high contrast

    • Portraits

    • Still life

    • When shape/depth is more important that texture

Size and space l.jpg
Size and space

  • 2D pictures distort depth, relative size, and distances

    • Include reference item

    • Include parts of the fore- or background

    • Use a frame

    • Be creative—maybe you want to distort

Giving perspective l.jpg
Giving perspective

  • Linear—Lines which converge into the distance

  • Diminishing size—objects further away are smaller

  • Aerial perspective—atmosphere creates haze, which lightens objects farther away

Depth and perspective l.jpg
Depth and perspective

  • Overlapping forms—overlapping objects in a picture create depth and distance

  • Selective focusing—focusing on the foreground and blurring the background

Improving composition l.jpg
Improving composition

  • Rule of thirds

  • Simplicity

  • Angle and perspective

  • Framing

Have a strong center of interest l.jpg
Have a strong center of interest

  • Take pictures at different angles with different compositions

  • Work around the rule of thirds

Simplicity l.jpg

  • One strong center of interest

    • Foreground or background should be simple or complimentary to center of interest

    • Include foreground or background for sense of isolation, distance, depth, etc.

  • Avoid mergers

Cut offs l.jpg
Cut offs

  • Avoiding cutting out parts or wholes of people or main subjects

  • Avoiding cutting out the path of a moving object

Working with angles l.jpg
Working with angles

  • Low angles

    • Clear sky backdrop

    • Accentuate movement or action

  • High angle

    • Eliminate cloudy sky

  • 45 degree angles will cut glare

  • Avoid centered horizons

Framing l.jpg

  • Adds depth

  • Should fit theme

  • Helps subject fill the frame

  • Can block unwanted subjects from view

  • Watch focus on foreground

    • Focus on foreground in landscape

    • Focus on subject in portraits

    • Auto-focus should be centered on main topic


Balance l.jpg

  • Balance color and weight in a picture

  • Formal and informal

  • Symmetrical and asymmetrical

Slide55 l.jpg



Fill the frame l.jpg
Fill the frame

  • Would this picture look better if I was closer?

    • Focus on subject

    • Detail

  • Start far and move closer

  • Fill the frame with objects that “fit”

  • Long range shots provide depth and perspective

Digital issues l.jpg
Digital issues

  • File formats

  • Scanning

  • Printing

Native file formats l.jpg
Native file formats

  • Format used by computer program

  • Retains ability to edit within native program

  • Unreadable on WWW or graphics programs

  • Product families (Adobe, Microsoft, etc.)

  • Examples

    • .ppt, .doc, .mix

Nonnative file formats l.jpg
Nonnative file formats

  • General formats that multiple programs can open

    • .gif, .jpg, .tif, .bmp

  • Formatting cannot be undone within a program – picture must be reedited

  • Save pictures in both native and nonnative file formats

Resolution l.jpg

  • Quality of the pictures on a screen, print, or file

    • DPI = dots per inch (printer)

    • PPI = pixels per inch (screen)

  • More resolution means higher file size

  • Different file types contain more or less information (resolution)

Tagged image file format l.jpg
Tagged Image File Format

  • Very flexible and can be opened by most programs

  • Saves as pixels

  • Scan as a .tiff or as a native file format if possible

Eps files vector l.jpg
EPS files (vector)

  • Only some programs use: FreeHand, Illustrator, CorelDraw

  • Saved as separate images not as pixels – no resolution lost with resizing

  • Use the “Options” button under PRINT in PageMaker to save as EPS

Graphical interchange format l.jpg
Graphical Interchange Format

  • Great for the WWW

  • 8-bit – 256 colors (indexed color)

  • Usually set at 72 pixels for the WWW

  • Allows for transparency

  • NOT used in printing

Portable network graphic l.jpg
Portable Network Graphic

  • 24-bit (millions of colors)

  • Transparency with jagged edges

  • Alternative to the .gif

  • Newer computer programs only

Joint photographic experts group l.jpg
Joint Photographic Experts Group

  • 24-bit color

  • Lossy compression

  • You can usually set your compression here

  • Best for WWW pictures

Portable document format l.jpg
Portable Document Format

  • Embeds all data into a single file

    • Fonts

    • Format

    • Pictures

    • Text

  • Works on any computer with reader

  • Standardizes your document

  • Work on WWW and as attachments

Postscript files l.jpg
Postscript files

  • Will print on any postscript printer

  • Do not need program to output data

  • Print to file

  • Make sure you know what kind of printer you are dealing with

General rules l.jpg
General rules

  • Scan a photo as a .tiff file

  • For web pictures, use .jpg

  • For print pictures, use .tiff or vector format at a minimum of 300 dpi

  • When possible, scan/save the picture at the size to be used – 300 dpi will look poor if enlarged

Rgb color l.jpg
RGB Color

  • Red-green-blue

  • Monitors and scanners determine level of the three to put on a pixel

  • Light directly into the eye = cannot look the exact on paper

  • Out of gamut (cannot be printed in CMYK format)

Cmyk mode l.jpg

  • Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key (black)

  • Commercially output documents or special printers

    • Four-color printing

    • Process colors

  • Color bounces off object and onto your eye

  • Get a process book or color guide to select (Pantone, Tru-Match, Agfa)

Comparing the two l.jpg
Comparing the two

  • RGB have smaller file sizes

  • RGB has some features that the other does not

  • Convert between the modes at the end or you will lose information

Understanding resolution l.jpg
Understanding resolution

  • Resolved to our eyes = realism and accuracy

  • Printer = DPI

  • Monitor = bit depth (colors displayable)

    • 72 ppi is good enough for electronic photos

Understanding pixels l.jpg
Understanding pixels

  • Picture elements (dots) per inch

  • Standard monitor displays 640 by 480 pixels

    • 640 by 480

    • 1024 by 768

  • More pixels requires more RAM, which may mean lower bit depth