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Photo Examples of Good Rule or Technique Application, Help for the New Contributor


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BALANCE in an image.  While we alluded to certain aspects of "photographic balance" in some of the past pages we never explained exactly what it is and how to accomplish it.  The following is an attem

Most of us that have been here a while have done our share of critiquing the portfolios of our many newcomers, often a bit more harshly than we intended or possibly should have.  While I realize

After 13 pages, I have no idea if it came up already or not, but just to be sure, sometimes it is good to ignore typical composition rules and leave some space for the buyer for copy or  cropping.

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3 minutes ago, Rudy Umans said:

I did.

  Dec. 15: "in the toolbar on top you click on the icon that looks like a tic tac toe board." 

Yes I got that now. 👍 Since I don't have and use CC it took some searching for "Overlay" to be the answer.

But good news, now we all know that all of them had that and Elements doesn't anymore.

 

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1 hour ago, HodagMedia said:

Yes I got that now. 👍 Since I don't have and use CC it took some searching for "Overlay" to be the answer.

But good news, now we all know that all of them had that and Elements doesn't anymore.

 

Elements doesn't? Well I think for half the price of Elements you are better of with a full featured program like Affinity Photo anyway.

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21 hours ago, Rudy Umans said:

Elements doesn't? Well I think for half the price of Elements you are better of with a full featured program like Affinity Photo anyway.

I've used Elements since it came free with my first Canon camera. Yeah, imagine that FREE, I think it was Elements 3 and I probably used Photoshop LE back then. The main feature difference, even though we discovered something useful that's missing, is in Photoshop many of the actions and abilities are programmed in, while in Elements, you can do the same things, but it is much more manual, time consuming or difficult. So essentially less automation.

Every version of Elements they add some new features or start to include older Photoshop editing abilities. I have had CC for a year, owned early Lightroom, and get around OK in those. I just like Elements because I do "real photos" and not creative editing. Photoshop is amazing for someone skilled.

Latest version I bought were 7 and 10 and now 2020 because I bought the bundle with Elements Premiere in case I want to edit a video some day and I have a Windows 10 computer.  I've used XP up until now and had none of the other MS OS installed on anything.

I haven't seen Affinity but thanks for the tip. I've seen that name lately. Others like Corel and for the less expensive minded GIMP.

Just a note I use the grid for rule of thirds, on the camera and when I crop, so I'm not missing something I'd want. Maybe I should? But I don't.

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  • 2 months later...

My apologies to those of you who are getting tired of seeing this thread but in reviewing my portfolio images I noticed how often I have used an "S" curve in the composition of my images.  While I like to use it, I never knew why, what it accomplished nor it's historical roots. 

Obviously, it's a form of a leading line much like diagonal line that leads you through an image but it seems to be so much more appealing than just a straight line.  Why?  I googled it.  I found that a Greek sculptor popularized it in the 4th century and the British painter, William Hoharth (1700s) championed this compositional technique in his modern art referring to it as the "basis of all great art".  It's still today referred to as the "Line of Beauty" giving an image a sense of grace and beauty not accomplished with any other leading line. 

While it is most often found in Landscape photography, it creates an additional depth and dimension as well as a sense of motion when used effectively in any genre of photography.  It's out there far more often than we think, we just need to look for it and incorporate it into our images. 

Attached are a number of photos (in various genre) that take advantage of the "S" curve, which I feel adds more visual  impact than the image would have had, if not for the use of an "S" curve.   What are your thoughts on the subject?           

 

_MG_2586.jpg

_MG_7647.jpg

_MG_8922.jpg

F S Ribbon Snake San Disk .jpg

P5017347.jpg

P9291113  adj.jpg

_9061406  adj.jpg

_MG_4359.jpg

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Good point Steve, actually the answer IMHO is any of these are good and none is the "basis of all great art", the golden ratio,  rule of thirds, phi curve, Fibonacci sequence and many more.

These are all ways to describe something that's in the brain, using math. Can we really define what's pleasing to the eye, based on some formula, recipe or simple shape that defines all great art? I don't think so.

At the same time, all of these are ways to visualize and format what we see as pleasing shapes and compositions.

True you can see the S in many images, less obvious than your personal examples. It's a natural way for an image to be composed. In fact using the rule of thirds, you will see many S shapes. They draw the eyes through the image. Just like we read a book, our eyes don't see a whole image at one time, we view it progressively.

Yellow ducks in sandy grass setting. Large duck in front, leading smaller and smaller yellow rubber ducks.

Newton Iowa, USA - June 23, 2013: Indycar Iowa Corn 250 race Iowa Speedway Ed Carpenter and field of eleven Dallara Indycar race cars. Group of Indy Cars race track corner.

 

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Thijs,

Thanks for your comment and examples.  Regrettably, straight Leading Lines were discussed on page 1 of this fifteen page thread.  While we've tended to wonder a bit over those pages, the purpose of the thread (when it was started back in January 2019) was to assist new contributors with basic rules and techniques of photography through photo examples.  The "S" curve was something that hadn't been touched on and I thought might be of interest to the new contributors.  

While any thoughts on photography are welcome, new uncovered aspect of photography would be the goal of this thread.  Thanks again for your contribution and interest.  Sorry for my over abundance of examples, I did make it look like a "Show and Tell" thread.  My bad!  I'll try and do better next time.

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21 minutes ago, Steve Bower said:

Thijs,

Thanks for your comment and examples.  Regrettably, straight Leading Lines were discussed on page 1 of this fifteen page thread.  While we've tended to wonder a bit over those pages, the purpose of the thread (when it was started back in January 2019) was to assist new contributors with basic rules and techniques of photography through photo examples.  The "S" curve was something that hadn't been touched on and I thought might be of interest to the new contributors.  

While any thoughts on photography are welcome, new uncovered aspect of photography would be the goal of this thread.  Thanks again for your contribution and interest.  Sorry for my over abundance of examples, I did make it look like a "Show and Tell" thread.  My bad!  I'll try and do better next time.

Hi Steve

Indeed, I have not read everything. My road and ditch have less sharp curves than yours. That is why I thought it would be nice to add them with a straight road as a comparison. So you can see the difference in effect.
Here a photo with sharper curves. I think it is closer to your intentions?

stock-photo-an-old-dutch-thatched-windmill-called-robonsbosmolen-in-the-netherlands-near-the-city-of-1684062571.jpg

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On 3/5/2021 at 11:43 PM, Steve Bower said:

My apologies to those of you who are getting tired of seeing this thread but in reviewing my portfolio images I noticed how often I have used an "S" curve in the composition of my images.  While I like to use it, I never knew why, what it accomplished nor it's historical roots. 

Obviously, it's a form of a leading line much like diagonal line that leads you through an image but it seems to be so much more appealing than just a straight line.  Why?  I googled it.  I found that a Greek sculptor popularized it in the 4th century and the British painter, William Hoharth (1700s) championed this compositional technique in his modern art referring to it as the "basis of all great art".  It's still today referred to as the "Line of Beauty" giving an image a sense of grace and beauty not accomplished with any other leading line. 

While it is most often found in Landscape photography, it creates an additional depth and dimension as well as a sense of motion when used effectively in any genre of photography.  It's out there far more often than we think, we just need to look for it and incorporate it into our images. 

Attached are a number of photos (in various genre) that take advantage of the "S" curve, which I feel adds more visual  impact than the image would have had, if not for the use of an "S" curve.   What are your thoughts on the subject?           

 

_MG_2586.jpg

_MG_7647.jpg

_MG_8922.jpg

F S Ribbon Snake San Disk .jpg

P5017347.jpg

P9291113  adj.jpg

_9061406  adj.jpg

_MG_4359.jpg

Oh thank you!

I just open this topic and recognize the Sunwapta falls (and Dubrovnik?). Lovely pictures! Where did you took the first two?

I love the advice and the little story that goes with it... I tried to search if I used it in my photographs but it is not that common for me so I'll try to use it more often! 

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Awana JF,

Thanks for the comment!  The first one was taken in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota and the second was in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  

If you haven't waded through this thread you might want to as the Shutterstock Contributors and I came up with quite a few good tips that might be of interest.  As mentioned before we did wander off topic a number of times but I think it might be a worthwhile read. 

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Steve,

As a matter of fact I did read it a lot, especially the first pages but I never reacted because I feel it's weird to react to a post made 6 months before 😅

Anyway it's a great topic a I like the advices a lot! It is very useful! I will probably read the new entrance and react if I'm around!

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David, good Idea and nice photoshop work on the submitted image. 

Admittedly, I spend far too much time on my submitted images especially now that they've reduced the payouts but I do it for myself and view it as an opportunity to learn and expand my photoshop skills.  If I'm happy with the foreground but stuck with a lousy sky, I usually will change out the sky.  In the case of the attached adjusted image, I made the original horizontal image into a vertical in order to take advantage of the beautiful sky I added.  

Your way makes more sense however, given the new contributor payout structure. 

P9241166   Flattened  .jpg

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Something old that's new to this topic for the @Steve Bower school. 👍

In traditional art training, these are essential elements of art:  color, form, line, shape, space, texture and value.

There are different opinions of how to learn and improve. I'm one of the "you need to learn the rules, before you break the rules" kind of person. Some other say, jump in the plane and fly, so what if you crash... 😉 More of a trial end error method.

There are some good debatable arguments from both sides, where doing is learning, just by doing, and a personal journey. On the other hand, if someone can learn by studying what has already been documented, then why not speed up the process.

Rules of art, photography, creative imaging, are "guidelines" not laws.

Some things to think of in evaluating your own work are: color, form, line, shape, space, texture and value

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Tim,

Excellent Point!  Never be so focused on what you want to photograph that you don't see the other great photographic  opportunities around you.  If you can, bring lenses that will cover any situation.  I usually carry a long telephoto, a wide angle telephoto and my macro lens, as you never know what you'll see! 

Thanks for bringing that up.

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Pete,

No one is arguing the point of whether the "rules" and "techniques" in this thread are anything other than "guidelines".  However, when we do stray from them, we should have a specific reason that warrants it, something that (at least in our opinion) will improve the overall look of the image.

Photography is art (as you indicate) and our goal should be to portray our vision for that particular image.  If that vison is ugly, appealing or beautiful, knowing what will best create that vision is best done by knowing the rules of composition, exposure, color and the other "elements of art".  Ignorance of the rules (guidelines) seldom, if ever. produces consistent results.  Admittedly, bad examples can be the best teacher but it's probably easier to concentrate our efforts on what others have found to "work" rather than trying to learn art and photography in a vacuum.

Sorry, if this was your point.  Like art, no two people think alike nor do they express themselves in the same way.  Thanks for your comments.  

  

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17 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

Pete,

No one is arguing the point of whether the "rules" and "techniques" in this thread are anything other than "guidelines".  However, when we do stray from them, we should have a specific reason that warrants it, something that (at least in our opinion) will improve the overall look of the image.

Photography is art (as you indicate) and our goal should be to portray our vision for that particular image.  If that vison is ugly, appealing or beautiful, knowing what will best create that vision is best done by knowing the rules of composition, exposure, color and the other "elements of art".  Ignorance of the rules (guidelines) seldom, if ever. produces consistent results.  Admittedly, bad examples can be the best teacher but it's probably easier to concentrate our efforts on what others have found to "work" rather than trying to learn art and photography in a vacuum.

Sorry, if this was your point.  Like art, no two people think alike nor do they express themselves in the same way.  Thanks for your comments.  

  

You hit that on the head. My point was bringing up the general view of everything as guidelines, not that anyone here had insisted that they were laws that were cast in stone. The other part was:

 

23 hours ago, HodagMedia said:

Some things to think of in evaluating your own work are: color, form, line, shape, space, texture and value

Which I hadn't seen as a traditional list that defined creative images.

Nope no debate intended. 👍 I see this thread as information, ideas and potential education.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok. Since this thread came up in another thread and this is an interesting thread, much more interesting than Artificial Intelligence (AI) is much more Artificial than Intelligent or something along those lines, let's pick this up again.

AI rejections teach us nothing and this thread hopefully does. That's the beauty of photography and design, no matter how seasoned and established one might be, learning never stops. it's an ongoing process

I actually read the whole thread sort of, all 15 pages, and a few things haven't come up yet or I missed them.

The first one I want to touch did come up somewhere else I think.  I remember vaguely Pete and I talking about this.

Anyway, it is why you should process your images in 16 bit and not in 8 bit. (go to image - mode)

The difference is in the number of tonal values. An 8 bit RGB image has 16.7 million colors while a 16 bit image has 281 trillion colors. Now I don't know how many time 16.7 million goes into 281 trillion, but it is substantial. This means that a 16 bit image gives you a lot more leeway concerning processing. You can do more extreme things without pulling the image apart. If you process an 8 bit image a little bit too much, you can get banding in blue skies for instance because the tonal transitions are more limited and less smoothly in 8 bit than in 16bit. There is much more "room" to push and pull an image in 16 bit than in 8 bit. 

The second thing is dodging and burning. Selectively Dodge the highlights, burn the shadows or anything in between. Dodging and burning controls the local contrast in an image and can give an otherwise flat and dull image more contrast and depth, you can create "layers" in an image. Emphasize certain areas, create inconspicuous virtual leading lines with light to get the viewer's attention without them even knowing about it. etc etc. 

The third is the curve tool. Methinks the curve tool is the most powerful tool in Photoshop. Watch some youtube videos about that tool and you will find out there is not much that tool cannot do.

So in short, if you want to go beyond the crop/straighten tool and some other basic tools to improve your photoshop skills quickly and effectively with a pretty much instant gratification, process in 16 bit, learn to dodge and burn, and learn the curve tool. Of course there are lots of other advanced tools and techniques that are important and helpful too, as discussed in this thread, but if you only want to learn 3 bit more advanced techniques, it should be these 3 in my opinion.

Shoot in RAW, convert to and process in 16 bit Tiff, learn the crop tool, dodge and burn, and the curve tool and you should be good to go for the majority of your images

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1 hour ago, Rudy Umans said:

Ok. Since this thread came up in another thread and this is an interesting thread, much more interesting than Artificial Intelligence (AI) is much more Artificial than Intelligent or something along those lines, let's pick this up again.

AI rejections teach us nothing and this thread hopefully does. That's the beauty of photography and design, no matter how seasoned and established one might be, learning never stops. it's an ongoing process

I actually read the whole thread sort of, all 15 pages, and a few things haven't come up yet or I missed them.

The first one I want to touch did come up somewhere else I think.  I remember vaguely Pete and I talking about this.

Anyway, it is why you should process your images in 16 bit and not in 8 bit. (go to image - mode)

The difference is in the number of tonal values. An 8 bit RGB image has 16.7 million colors while a 16 bit image has 281 trillion colors. Now I don't know how many time 16.7 million goes into 281 trillion, but it is substantial. This means that a 16 bit image gives you a lot more leeway concerning processing. You can do more extreme things without pulling the image apart. If you process an 8 bit image a little bit too much, you can get banding in blue skies for instance because the tonal transitions are more limited and less smoothly in 8 bit than in 16bit. There is much more "room" to push and pull an image in 16 bit than in 8 bit. 

Note: this only works in RAW and TIFF. JPEGs are always 8 bit. When I convert a RAW image, I save it as a TIFF for this reason. Once you are done, you can save it as a JPEG and everything should be fine with perfect tonal values

The second thing is dodging and burning. Selectively Dodge the highlights, burn the shadows or anything in between. Dodging and burning controls the local contrast in an image and can give an otherwise flat and dull image more contrast and depth, you can create "layers" in an image. Emphasize certain areas, create inconspicuous virtual leading lines with light to get the viewer's attention without them even knowing about it. etc etc. 

The third is the curve tool. Methinks the curve tool is the most powerful tool in Photoshop. Watch some youtube videos about that tool and you will find out there is not much that tool cannot do.

So in short, if you want to go beyond the crop/straighten tool and some other basic tools to improve your photoshop skills quickly and effectively with a pretty much instant gratification, process in 16 bit, learn to dodge and burn, and learn the curve tool. Of course there are lots of other advanced tools and techniques that are important and helpful too, as discussed in this thread, but if you only want to learn 3 bit more advanced techniques, it should be these 3 in my opinion.

Shoot in RAW, convert to and process in 16 bit Tiff, learn the crop tool, dodge and burn, and the curve tool and you should be good to go for the majority of your images

I would like to add the noise filter, Rudy.

If too much saturation or dynamic is added to an 8 bit image, it can lead to bad gradients (for example blue gradients in the sky)  that are no longer clean, but get edges. If you convert the image to 16 bit, change dynamic or saturation and then add about 2% / max 3% noise after adding saturation or dynamics and then convert back to an 8 bit image, the gradients will look perfect in most cases.

By the way, this also applies to the users of the images if they need them in CMYK mode. Because often the purchased RGB images look perfect, after the conversion to CMYK mode for offset printing, this is unfortunately often no longer the case.

 

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