Composition Overview: Isabel in the Plateau

In our last outing, we had some incredible shots - all part of the processes that make for some great development in photography.

This is my review of some of the photos from the shoot. I'll address some of the more basic concepts and then discuss approach. 


I think the photograph above is incredible. Isabel stands out and her expression, lighting and treatment of the image all work to make it quite a compelling photograph. What does bother me is the white object on the top left. I'd even go so far as to suggest this approach be further explored in future shoots.

Here's another photograph that plays on simplicity. The treatment and style are similar to the previous shoot. It's a great shot for the porfolio.

Here's another great photograph with two versions. The first is more intimate, but the second balances out. with the fact that the flower pots add weight to the left side of the image. Still, the exposure, expression and overall composition works very well. 

This is a great shot but taken at great risk with a shutter speed of 1/25 and f/8. A slight shift to f/5.6 and increase in shutter speed to 1/50 would have resulted in the same image but in focus. Still a great shot if not zoomed in as much.


This photograph - above is one of my favourites as it splits the composition with Isabel adding a powerful balance to the left. The lighting is perfect and as a means to add effect, I used the graduated filter to bring out the right side of the image. 

Next, we look at some other photographs from the shoot. The one below is really well done, but again, we've happened upon very pleasant lighting and a more or less clean composition. The bicycle (which sadly couldn't be moved from below) spoils the broader composition though. We have to engage in a cropping process.  


But we can't just remove the bicycle as that would make for a very uneven composition. We need to crop both at the bottom as well as at the top. Here's the resulting image:

Here are some more photos where I thought the first was very intimate and brought out a lively expression. It's a bit grey though and increasing contrast using tone curves can help sharpen the image.

The photograph below achieves a good deal of simplicity and can be explored in black and white, again, could use some tone curves to sharpen the image and bring out some textures on the wood. There is also the possibility that some brushing needs to be done after the tone curves as the darker part of her face (right eye area) would lose detail. Using a low flow value and high feather value, we can make this a very subtle result. 

Here's another incredible shot. It breaks the pattern of the leaves and within it is beatiful Isabel. In a former image, the clutter was a bit annoying. I cropped the image so that it didn't include a light coloured object on the bottom right that was drawing considerable attention but also pushing the viewer to look at the bottom of the photograph rather than the top. 

I think post production is an important area that can potentially teach us a great deal about our mistakes, and make the art of photography rather forgiving. 

It's important for people to see post production as a stepped process (where it is possible for your photograph to get worse before it gets better). A good example is the case of using tone curves in the photograph with the wooden wall. If we don't follow up with the brush, then it will make using the tone curve a dangerous tool that will result in a worse photograph than what we started off with. 

Another important lesson is about lighting. We always try to pick evening light, since we obviously want to find the most flattering and easy light to work with. It's a good idea to look through the lighting and consider it's broader consistency. There are very few areas with heavy shadows and heavy contrasts and yet almost no cases of lighting that is different from a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio. I'd like you all to think about lighting and think of the details within portrait lighting every time you happen upon a scene. 


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