Posts tagged ‘photography business’

January 17, 2012

Cropping Photos to Improve the Visual Effect

Cropping is a useful tool for photo improvement. Though it sounds like an easy trick, cropping is more art than science and you need an eye for it. Still there are some general guidelines that can help you improve the visual effect of your photos.

Focus in!

Crop to bring the attention to the main object or person. In a portrait, the person’s eyes are the focal point. If the person is looking sideways, make sure to allow ‘space’ for her to look into or include enough of the object so the viewer knows what the the person is looking at. Otherwise the viewer will wonder what is missing.

Cropping also lets you remove the parts of the picture that didn’t turn well, let’s say because of awkward posing like in the example below.

Don’t amputate!

Cropping off people’s limbs at joints makes them look like amputees. Despite a very popular concern, it’s okay to crop part of the head if it’s a close portrait, as it will bring more attention to the eyes.  Cutting between the joints is alright as long as it’s still possible for the mind’s eye to fill in the blanks to complete a person’s torso or limb.

An example of bad cropping where the hand cut off at the wrist appears detached. The only way to fix this effect is to re-crop the photo to a close portrait.

Combine tilting with cropping!

In some situations tilting can save the day when you realize the only photo that you like is still bad.

Remove distractions!

Remove the view-spoilers, parts of unidentifiable objects and things that distracts from the story the image is telling.

Someone's back was a view-spoiler in otherwise a nice portrait. The photo allowed for easy cropping that brought the new balance to the composition by seemingly adding to the empty space in the direction of the person' glance.

Watch the ‘negative space’!

This is the space around the central object. Cropping too tightly will make the photo look awkward.

Cropping Contextual Images

The images surrounding the person or the object in the center of attention serve as the context and create the picture story and establish the mood. It becomes a critical compositional component that need to be cropped to have a balanced visual effect. To reach the optimal result, it is recommended to follow the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds: Divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically. The points where those lines intersect are good starting points to place the main subject. Essentially the primary subject is slightly off center.

In the original photo the person is put squarely in the middle and the background is cropped too tight leaving no breathing space above and below the figure. By cropping right below the hand (not to lose the gesture) and reducing the space on the left we re-balance the composition to bring it it in line with the Rule-of-Thirds.

You might find it impossible to follow all these rules as they start to clash when your photo has more than one problem. You would need to compromise or send it to us at PhotoHand and we’ll apply more advanced techniques to perfect your mementos.

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You might also want to read:
Cropping Photos to Match Printing Standards
Other Point-and-Click Tips

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May 18, 2009

Shooting for the Book

The wedding season hits in June and we at PhotoHand expect a rise in custom photo books design orders. Most of our clients have been in the wedding photography business for a while but there are a lot of talented young beginners who have been asking us to give them some tips on how to be prepared so that they are in the right place at the right moment and shoot enough material for a lively photo story.

We looked at the weddings albums that we have created so far and came up with this cheat sheet. A bride can also use this list when giving directions to her photographer.

A spread from a wedding book designed and photo retouched by PhotoHand prosfessionals.

A spread from a wedding book designed and photo retouched by PhotoHand prosfessionals.

A wedding is a celebration of a tradition and traditions by their nature adhere to certain scripts. Below are the points general to any wedding but if the wedding is to include some ethnic traditions or special family customs, that photographer must be notified of all such details beforehand so that he or she is able to capture every key moment.

Behind the Scene
The dress on a hanger
close-ups of any remarkable details on the dress
Accessories: flowers, shoes, jewelry, the rings
The bride getting ready (makeup, hair, jewelry, dress,shoes)
Family and bridesmaids assisting the bride
Others getting ready
Portrait of the bride
The groom getting ready (adjusting the ties tie or cuff links)
Portrait of the groom
Waiting for the Ceremony
The wide-angle view of the location
The groom waiting for the bride
The groom, the best man and the officiator
The ring bearer and flower girl
General view of the seated guests
Arrival of the bride

The Ceremony
The best man and maid of honor coming down the aisle
Each groomsman and bridesmaid coming down the aisle
The bride coming down the aisle
Wide-angle view of the ceremony
The vow and ring exchange
Signing of the marriage license
The kiss
The bride and groom coming down the aisle
Any special musician, singer, speaker, etc.

Formal Photos
Hands with the wedding bands
Formal group photos
Romantic bride and groom photos

The Reception
Details: centerpieces, the cake, decor
The wedding party entering the reception
Toasts
Cutting of the cake
The first dance
Dances with parents
Bouquet toss
Garter removal
Guests at each table
Dancing guests

Final Scene
The newlyweds waiving or walking away
Departing Limo

That’s it! Have a great shoot!
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June 30, 2008

The right to shoot vs. the right to publish

In November 2007, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington announced that an amateur photographer has obtained a settlement of $8,000 from the city of Seattle after he was arrested simply for taking photographs of police making an arrest. The ACLU represented the photographer in his wrongful arrest case.

It turns out people have the right to take photographs in public places. So, I should probably repeat my attempt to take pictures at the Metropolitan Opera. Last time I tried I was stopped because the flash could cause fire. They told me that despite the changes in technology, the archaic rule still applied.

So, are there any laws limiting us from taking photos when we feel so? Only two. You can’t take photos of the following:

– Military installations or operations.

– People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy, meaning people who are some place that’s not easily visible to the general public. Examples: if you take photos through someone’s window or when a person punches in his PIN number at the cash machine.

That’s in a nutshell. For details, consult the Photographers’ Guide to Privacy that explains the invasion of privacy standards in the 50 states and D.C. – http://www.rcfp.org/photoguide/?loc=interstitialskip

On the other hand, there is a difference between THE RIGHT TO SHOOT and THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH. Publishing is a rather gray area. Here are some basic rules that seem to be wide open to interpretation:

– Thou shan’t reveal other person’s private facts (e.g. medical information) unless these facts have already been revealed by such persons publicly.
– Thou shan’t place another person in a false light before the public.
– Thou shan’t take advantage of someone else’s likeness for commercial gain without their permission.
– Thou shan’t sell photographs of copyrighted work.

For examples that shed some light on these gray issues, please consult this document – http://www.kantor.com/blog/Legal-Rights-of-Photographers.pdf.

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