S: Snapshots by Emily Dempsey January 2011
FC: Emily Dempsey "Snapshots"
1: INTRO Photography. Its popular, wide spread, available to most, and interests all ages. But is photography really simply just "taking a snapshot?" Is a good photo simply determined by opinion? What makes a photo appealing, and how do effects such as B&W affect the perception of an image? Throughout this book you will see the outcome of some of my research about this topic. I do firmly believe that there is a certain "knack" to taking photos, and also that some things are simply better, when improvised and not rehearsed. However, some tips and research into photography are bound to improve your skills to a certain extent. There are many aspects to photography, and looking at every angle would be simply too much. However I have found, that by going back to basics, and taking a look at different types of photos, and why they look appealing, taught me a lot. There is a certain amount of photography that is based on opinion and personality; however a small portion of this is also based on trends within the way people see and perceive images. And this is what I decided to look into. | Retouched
3: The Effects of Black and White on nature: We all know the usual editing of photos by making them black and white or giving them a "sepia" effect. But what does it actually do to the image you apply it to? By looking at the pictures (right) we can see a lot more clearly some of the main effects of black and white. The main thing black and white does to a photo is that it makes the eyes focus on the shapes and details. The reason for this being that it takes away the colour, which is what we are usually drawn to.
5: The Effects of Black and White on people: When it comes to images of people, and the effect of black&white on them, it can be a little different to pictures of nature. Similarly to nature pictures, we are more drawn to the detail. But, a second aspect is that it sets a very different mood. When pictures are in colour, the vibrant tones bring different emotions, depending on the colours. On these pictures it gives more of a positive, fresh feel. But when it is set as B&W the mood shifts. Typically, the photos look more like memories, this is because we associate them with old B&W films, which now, are a thing of the past. Depending on the shot this can bring positive or even sad emotions as it can represent either loss, or simply remembering a good time.
7: Peaceful shots: This section of my book was inspired when in the beautiful country of Italy. Being there during the time of my research reminded me of several things. One was that the setting and place has a massive effect on the feel and the way you take photos. Another was that there are so many different emotions and feelings that can be given in photos, but the one that came up most while I was there, was peace and the feeling of being relaxed. I tried to find out what was the main element of a peaceful feeling and how I could capture this through photography. These photos are based on the idea of working with people's memories and experiences, by showing very simple things and senses/feelings that most people have experienced and can sympathise with. For example the photo of the stones represents a feeling that is familiar to most of us. At least most do, and by being almost dark, but with a warm tone, it portrays the feeling of a warm summer night.
9: Close ups: Close ups, tricky, but definetly worth it. There is something very fascinating and intriguing that comes with close up photos. One reason is because it is sometimes something we rarely see properly. Take the butterfly for example. We do not often get to see a butterfly so close, and if we do, not for very long. Close ups however need to be done in a certain way to work, and there are only really two rules: focus and frame. The photo must be in focus, and not just on part, the whole thing, unless it is purposely done as a selective focus photo, (which are sometimes seen in galleries to create a more mysterious mood). And frame, choose wisely what needs to be seen. When doing a close up, chose an interesting part of the subject, as often you will not fit it all in.
11: Surprising Nature: Even though it is often done, taking pictures of flowers and our surroundings seem to be extremely effective and popular, but why? Although fancy editing, and professional models with prepared sets can be impressive, it does not compare to a simple, raw image of a flower. this is because it stands on its own. It needs no air brushing or effects. It is natural beauty. Now that people know how touched up those magazine covers are, there beauty doesn't shine through in the same way. However, by looking at any of the pictures on this page, exept one B&W photo, these are natural. there is diversity, colours, shapes, all of which are beautiful. beacause its natures creation.
13: Evening shots: Night/evening shots are also quite a popular style, however they can be tricky. the main difficulty with evening shots is that flash will often ruin the whole feel, and depending on what camera you have at your disposal, this means having a steady hand. Other than that, night photos are great for setting a mood, and mood is a repeating factor in photography. But that is because mood ties in with your message and the point of the shot. Night scenes are great as they give an automatic contrast, which is very appealing to look at. When you have a lot of bright colours, contrary to popular belief a black background can "calm things down" a bit. but nevertheless showcase perfectly the beautiful tones of the image.
16: Effects: used from Picnik editor, Holga-ish and intensifying exposure and contrast. | This shot was taken with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS in a horizontal format with a downward shot angle. This images solely relies on the subject as even when edited, the effects are simply an added bonus. But the subject is what gives the impressive aspect to the shot. but using black and white face paint the word "bold" was painted onto her face to mimic a zebra print effect. This image was put into B&W as it really exaggerates the contrast between the black and white paint. | BE BOLD I
17: The same applies to the shot above, however the original tones were exaggerated by using a technique that mimics cross processing. Cross processing is when a photographer will purposely use the wrong chemicals when developing a film, which gives it a slight yellow hue. | Effects: Cross processing. | BE BOLD II
22: Above are 3 still shots taken with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS in a vertical format. The first shot was kept raw but the other two I felt needed a small amount of editing which simply involved using a black and white effect on the whole shot except the main subject of the photo, which is the objects. By using white paint, a white background and wig there is no need to add effects to all this image. The idea of this photo was simply to give an artistic feel and get various objects to stand out and take focus. These objects will mean different things to different people and evoke different thoughts and memories to each and everyone of us. I then decided to make it into a photomontage with frames in order to show the idea that vibrant colours only coming from the objects and therefore make them stand out more in a frame. | WOMAN IN WHITE
23: The same applies to these still shots, that I decided to display on their own. However with a difference in the effects applied. In these cases the saturation was decreased and then a slight hue of purple was glazed over the feather photo (bottom left). | Effects: increased exposure, decreased saturation, added hues.
27: STAND OUT | The above composition, taken with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS is part of a series of photos named "stand out" that I took. By eliminating any natural light, and simply using a soft, manual lamp, I was able to give the photos more of a soft and deep feel. These two shots have both been edited. Firstly to make the face and words stand out more then anything else in the frame, and I then edited the fingers on the left image to make them look somewhat cartoon like. These two shots have been put together to give multiple perspectives in one go. the fact that the right photo is neither a horizontal or vertical format makes it look wider. By following the rule of three, and creating a focus point which is the face in the center, the image looks deeper. To get this effect the focus point was chosen and then everything around it was blurred slightly and desaturated. | Effects: Changing focus, altered saturation, blurring, limiting number of colours (posterising) added contrast.
28: The picture above (Left) was kept raw as the lighting used already brought in nice tones and colours. This shot was part of a series of 5 continuous snapshots taken. The second shot was also kept raw for similar reasons and also as it is a close up, as long as the face is well lit, there was no need for alterations. Also as the impressive aspect of this photo is the colours of the makeup and the words. and this aspects would be spoilt if it was not kept natural, as it would render it much less impressive. On the page to the Right are some alterations to the pictures previously described. By either changing the size of the frame, or adding various effects.
31: LOST IN THE WOODS. | This specific picture was taken with a Canon Power Shot A590-IS is set in a Japanese Maple tree, the Subject being a small Japanese doll. This picture plays on the idea of proportions, as it is not obvious at a first look how large the subject is. the doll measure around 7cm from its "ear" to its feet. But, by using a downward shot this creates a different perspective which makes it look bigger. This shot was taken using natural lighting, but as it was on a cloudy day, it needed some work. therefore the exposure was increased on the top of the doll which created a more defined focus point. | Effects: increased exposure.
34: DAWNS DEW DROPS. | This shot was also used in the example for black and white effects, this is essentially the same but with a little more work, the contrast was increase along slightly with exposure. It was also taken on a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS and has a horizontal format, which helps with the framing. This particular photo uses the golden triangle concept which involves the focus point being slightly off center. Referring back to earlier pages, this effect means the water drops stand out more, and they are essentially the focus in the image. | Effects: B&W, increased contrast and exposure.
35: ORANGE SIMPLICITY | This shot, taken on a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS, horizontal frame, raw, is a perfect example of how powerful a well framed, focused shot can be. Referring again back to previous pages, the impressive side of this photo comes from the knowledge that it has not been retouched, and that it uses an affordable high street camera with basic settings and display. Taken in Italy during the summer of 2010, with a natural morning light, the tones of this picture truly show how beautiful nature can be.
38: ELECTRIC FEEL | In contrast to the previous photos, these shots are based on a more modern edgy look that also often relys on a certain amount of editing. this photo is of a Burton custom snowboard without bindings attached, on which was placed two hightop shoes. this low angle shot gives a different perspective to the usual wide shot, straight on image. On top of this, it is taken on a slight diagonal line. Even though the angle in this is somewhat unconventional, it still follows the rule of three in the way that the focus point is in the center. however having the shoes be on a diagonal line, makes it look less uniform and more interesting. | Effects: selective B&W, increased contrast, exagerated saturation settings.
39: LONDON CALLING | This shot as well, plays with the more modern feel of things but also ties in traditional. Taken with a Canon Power Shot A590-IS in Chester, England on a vertical format, with the subject being a well known classic English scene. The concept of putting your focus points in colour and rendering the background less important through black and white is quite common use of editing tools. Once the B&W has been set, it is often known that the saturation is increased slightly to give the colours that extra "pop". This effect makes the image much more easy on the eye when it comes to colours on the background. It makes it simpler to know what to look at since all the "riff raff" on the backdrop suddenly becomes one. Thanks to this technique the uniform backdrop creates a perfect canvas for the subjects in the foreground to shine out and catch the eye. | Effects: selective B&W
42: INTERWEB | This image of a spider was taken in Bolton on a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS and has been kept raw. The first thing about this shot is that it is shocking and has an aspect of danger to it, as many people are not fond of spiders. However, even with a subject that is not apealling to a wide range of people, the image remains somewhat attractive. the background is out of focus so that the web stands out, and the subtle tones in the backdrop mean that it doesnt overpower the intricate detail of the spider and its web.
43: EYE CAT-CHING | The shot of this cat was taken through a window looking on to a back yard. It was taken with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS and used only natural lighting reflected in the window from the sun. the main reason this picture is appealing is because of the "cute factor" a lot of people will find most animal pictures "cute" or "impressive". This again ties in slightly to the idea of natural beauty and aesthetics. Another aspect is the mystery side of this photo. When you first look at it, it may take a moment of two for the viewer to understand exactly what he/she is looking at. Another detail would be the way the profile and the shiny nose have similar colours to the backdrop which creates a nice link within the tones of the image and a sense of unison.
44: IT'S A SMALL WORLD...AFTER ALL
45: IT'S IN THE DETAIL.
46: IT'S A SMALL WORLD... AFTER ALL | This shot, taken with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS, with a upward low angle shot shows a christmas decoration on a tree. Whilst many Christmas shots play on the viewers feelings and memories of the time of year, this one is more about looking at the small detail that this particular frame shows. at first look, the proportions of the subject are not clear, until compared with the pine needles in the foreground.by using the christmas tree lights only as my lighting, it gives this shot much more of an authentic feel and mood, in contrast to a harsh flash or studio lights.
47: IT'S IN THE DETAIL | This particular shot was taken during the summer of 2010 in Italy with a Canon Power Shot SX120-IS. This close up image of a butterfly uses natural light only and is kept raw. I found that with a close up shot like this, when the focus is precise enough, there is no editing needed as the subject speaks for itself. What makes this photo impressive in my eyes is the intricate details of each part of the butterfly.
48: Throughout the next pages are more shots taken throughout my research that often have similar qualities to the other photos that were explained previously which i hope you'll enjoy.
50: BLACK CAT? | Previous shot: Cat in Bolton.
51: Previous Shot: Cat in Back yard. | SKY HIGH.
52: Previous shot: View of The Alpes from plane. | LA VIE EN ROSE.
53: CHRISTMAS MILL. | Previous shot: sunset view from window.
54: LIGHTS AT NIGHT I | Previous shot: Christmas decoration on tree.
55: VIEW FROM SPACE | Previous shot: Candles in the snow, in garden.
56: Previous shot: Bubbles from waterfall into pond at night. | WARM & FROSTY
57: LIGHTS AT NIGHT II | Previous shot: Candles in snow in garden at night.
58: Previous shot: Candles in snow at night. | FINAL STEPS.
59: Previous shot: View from restaurant window-Ouchy. | THE CANDLE STICK.
60: EYE SEE YOU. | Previous shot: Sisters profiles.
61: BRAVE SOLDIER.