Photography Classes in Tampa

Want to get your camera off of automatic? Come to digital photography classes in Tampa and learn what shutter speeds and apertures do. Photo 101, Photo 101 Boot Camp, intermediate and specialized classes are offered. You can also get private lessons with your camera or borrow a loaner! Most classes are held at central locations in Tampa. Here are 5 things to consider when selecting a photography class . Quit setting your camera on automatic! For more info see Tampa Photography Classes and Tampa Photography workshops tab at my web site. Let's get clickin'!

Also, please enjoy the information on this blog. There are tons of great tips on photography, techniques, setting you camera, and shooting different environments. Have a suggestion on a great blog you want me to write? Let me know! Please leave your feedback through comments on this blog!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shooting in 3 dimensions

Composition and controlling what your viewer sees by thinking of your background, subject, and foreground as layers, helps to create a more dynamic image..
Have you had this experience? You take the time to pose your subject, get the lighting just right, snap the picture, and then look at it only to find what looks like a tree coming out of the back of aunt Martha's head. The tree is in the background, but due to the way it was shot it still looks like it's coming directly out of her skull. Not good!
Shooting in three dimensions means checking the foreground, your subject, and the background. Remember, the idea is to guide the reader of your photograph to your main subject visually. If you take into consideration what shouldn't be in the photo, or what complicates their ability to immediately find your subject, you will have a better image.
The best way to do this is become familiar with the capability of your lens, but more importantly before you push the shutter button, look through the viewfinder at the foreground, the subject, and the background. Pay attention to objects, color, contrast, and depth of field (blurring in the background and foreground) and put your subject in the best context, light, and color.

The Foreground
Sierra Mist poses in Nix Herrera exhibit at Nude Nite 2013. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM @ 105 mm, 1/200 sec;   f/2.8;   ISO 2500

Dimension can be added in several ways. Typically our eyes go first to what is brightest, what is in focus, and what is familiar when viewing a photograph. By changing what is in focus using a narrow depth of field (creating blur in the foreground and background),  a viewer will tend to first look at our subject. So, if I want to guide my viewers eye I will shoot with my lens as wide open (the largest aperture) as appropriate and focus on my subject. In this image I put part of the sculpture in the foreground (right) but used the depth of field to blur it slightly so that Sierra was in focus, creating interest leading to her. The background is also blurry. The blur is subtle but effective. The strong strike of red on her also leads the viewer's eye. Remember, viewers eyes go to what is brightest, in focus, and most familiar.

Brendy Gutierrez of West Palm chalks a tribute to the Master Leonardo DaVinci. Canon 5D Mark II,  EF16-35mm f/2.8L II @16mm, 1/250 sec;   f/13;   ISO 500, off-camera fill flash camera right
This shot was taken as part of the story on sidewalk chalk artists. It would have been easy to wait until the artist was done and take a picture of him proudly standing beside his work. However, showing him doing the work with the tools of his trade in the foreground significantly add to the storytelling of this image. Don't be afraid to aim your lens down a little if there is something meaningful in the foreground. Notice how this picture is split in half. The chalk in the foreground, and the action at the top. The leading lines of the chalk tray lead the viewer's eyes to the artist.

Canon 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L @ 100mm , 1/400sec, f7.1, ISO 2000
This image was part of the story about traffic problems in the Westshore area in Tampa Florida and proposals to fix it. It would have been easier to shoot a pedestrian in the crosswalk with cars in the background. However, waiting for the extra element of cars to appear in the foreground compound the picture and drive the point home that pedestrians walk through a sea of automobiles when they cross the busy intersection. Taking the foreground into consideration ads considerable depth to the photo. Shooting relatively wide so that the pedestrian looks small also adds to the effect. It is not shot this way to be deceptive, it is done to illustrate a point (he really did look that small among a sea of cars).


Aesthetically the background is possibly more important than the foreground. The background sometimes defines the context as well as guides your viewers eye to your subject. It can also be the most problematic because it is easy to lose your subject in a background. Or, as mentioned above, have background elements (such as a tree branch) disturb the vision of your subject.
Charlie Crist at the 2013 Kennedy - King Democratic dinner . Canon EOS 5D Mark III , EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM @ 170mm, 1/500 sec;   f/3.2;   ISO 2500

Good PR people know about the importance of backgrounds. In the photo above there was no way to get a shot of (former and possibly future Florida Gov.) Charlie Crist addressing this dinner party without getting the American flag in the background. It's hard to know whether they coordinated his shirt and tie to go with it, but it sure looks like the cover photo of a political ad. There was speculation that he might announce his gubernatorial candidacy. He didn't. But the very campaign looking picture was the result.
By the way, editors do not like photo op type photographs. They are just too staged.

Captain Larry and the Tampa Water Taxi and Shuttle. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 24mm, 1/60 sec;   f/4.0;   ISO 100

Backgrounds can also give context and reference. This image was part of the story on the Tampa Water Taxi on the Hillsborough River. The foreground has the wheel of the boat that Capt. Larry is steering, and the background has a reference to the story itself.

Call Me. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM @16mm, 1/25 sec;   f/2.8;   ISO 200

These concepts can be even more important in some genres like street photography. Everything in the frame, where it is placed and how, are all compositional elements for an effective street photo. If I had taken this photo with a slower shutter speed the people in the background window would have been blurrier and possibly indiscernible. However, having a little bit of motion blur and narrow depth of field in the background shows the motion of the train and makes the telephone stand out.

Tropicana Field for Creative Loafing Summer Guide 2011. Canon EOS 5D Mark II , EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM @16mm. 1/100 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 1000

And here is how foreground and background all composite. This image was taken for the Creative Loafing summer guide showing activities at Tropicana Field that go on along with Ray's baseball. The "touch tank" where stingrays are housed sits next to the stands at center field. It would have been easy to just get a picture of the tank, but that would not show the context of its position to outfield, or the splendor of Tropicana Field itself.

So, now that you have some experience in shooting photographs, it's time to start thinking more dimensionally. Before you pull the trigger take the time to see what's in the foreground and the background and crop in camera if necessary. If there is no way to crop elements out, give some consideration to using depth of field to take your viewers eye to the subject.
Make this technique a project today. Take a one-hour photo walk and experiment with changing the foreground and the background in your photos by aiming your lens up or down, narrowing or broadening the depth of field by changing your aperture, or moving around until the subject has a background in a foreground that is acceptable. Do your best to isolate the subject and guide your viewers eye. No more trees out of aunt Martha's head!

Keep Hitting That Shutter Button!

Chip Weiner is an acclaimed photojournalist in Tampa.

For information on other Tampa photography classes, digital photography classes, and Tampa photography workshops feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section. I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!

Chip Weiner is an award winning photojournalist and food photographer in Tampa. He has been a photography instructor for 10 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment