Below is a post about how to take great pictures of your product for the custom paper boxes. For the paper printed boxes, the artwork printing plays an important role in the company marketing and product promotion.
By reference: http://jamiewindsor.com
You’re looking to improve your photography. And you are rightfully told that composition is the key to a great photo.You proceed to read up on compositional rules, and you realize there’s a lot to learn.
The rule of thirds seems quite simple. But for the golden spiral, you’re not entirely sure how to use that. In the structure design of the gift paper boxes or rigid paper boxes, the golden ratio is widely used for the length and width of the cardboard paper box.
And then there’s a grid that looks a bit like the third grid, but it’s slightly different. People call it the Phi grid, which got something to do with the Fibonacci sequence. But you’re not quite sure.
Leading lines seem quite simple, but then there are leading lines that aren’t straight. And then dynamic symmetry. And you are told about some math you don’t quite understand. You not quite sure how to use the baroque diagonal and the reciprocal lines. It all looks very complex and confusing.
You decide maybe it’s best to look at those photos that inspired you to take up photography in the first place and see how these rules apply to them. You examine bodies of work, taken by a variety of well respected photographers. You also look at contemporary photographic journals. You look at short lists for prestigious photographic awards, but you rarely find any examples that fit with these rules. In fact, most of these images almost seemed to read like like a case study of what not to do. By this point, you’re confused and you’re overwhelmed, and you really don’t know where to start. Maybe you should just go to buy a new lens and see if that helps you take better photos.
The problem is that the composition is a massive subject. Learning all the grid systems and ratios is only one tool in your visual tool box. For now, let me give you eight simple tips that will hopefully get you started on improving your composition.
1. Get your position right.
Every representational photograph has two key factors, firstly the position of your subject and secondly the position of the photographer. Changing either one of these can change how your shot feels, what it means, what story it tells. That may sound simple and obvious, but a lot of people really do fail to take the same shot from different positions.
Don’t always default to shooting at eye level. It’s how we see the world every day and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not always the most interesting angle. Once you’ve composed your shot, stop, evaluate everything in your frame. Is everything exactly where you wanted to be? Are there any elemental areas that shouldn’t be there? If not, change it.
Now, this may mean just taking a side step to the left or to the right. It may mean climbing up something to get a higher vantage point. It may be crossing the street. Be vigilant and rigorous with yourself. A small bit of effort here can mean the difference between a mediocre shot and an absolute masterpiece.
Remember to shoot portrait aspect ratio as well, because portrait aspect ratio draws attention to objects in the foreground. And use landscape format for more natural field as we often use our eyes this way unless we’re looking at something too.
Take multiple shots in a variety of different ways, push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. It’s all about finding that position where all the elements in your shot work together to create the feeling you are aiming for.
2. Use your phone.
Most of us have a camera phone these days, and one of the biggest hurdles you have to overcome when learning how to compose and visualize an image is being able to translate what we see moving in 3D without these borders into a still flat, two-dimensional image.
Because we have two eyes, we see three dimensional, we have a greater perception of depth than a photograph can communicate. Our brains can easily filter out distracting background elements because we can see them as further away. But when you flatten that down to a 2D image, those distracting background elements can become much more prominent and take away from what you want the viewer to look at your photograph. Using your phone screen to compose an image can be really helpful.
I often set my phone to black and white. This way I can see the world framed. And in 2D I can see how colors translate into tone. I can also tap different areas of the screen to see how the image would look if exposed for the highlights for the shadows, this isn’t cheating. It’s using tools at our disposal to help us get the best shot possible.
Think of this more like an exercise in learning. The more we practice shooting like this, the more we will start to naturally translate what we see into a 2D composition. It’s a great learning tool if you want to improve your ability to naturally visualize a photo in your minds eye.
3. Beware the rule of thirds.
If you look up any tutorials articles, tips on photographic composition, you will likely be met with the rule of thirds right the top of the list.
Now the rule of thirds is a great little shorthand to start you thinking about composition. But just because you place the subject to one of those intersection points of the grid, this won’t guarantee you a balanced composition. You must think about your shot as a whole. One thing I see a lot when the rule of thirds is used is too much empty space on one side of the image. They can lead to the image feeling unbalanced. And there’s also more to balancing your shot than where you place elements in the frame. Tone, color, and contrast also all have weight. Darkness feels heavier than light. Saturated color feels heavier than pale hues.
Areas of extreme contrast draw the eye. When composing a shot as well as lining things up mathematically, look for where the areas of contrast are, look where the dark tones are, consider how your image feels as a whole. Does it feel like it’s tipping too much to the left or to the right? Consider compositional rules when finding the perfect place to take a shot from, but don’t go against your gut feeling. If something feels right in a certain place, but doesn’t immediately make sense to you, then just go for it. There’s probably a reason it works that you’re not yet aware of. Compositional rules are like a scientific formula. You can use them in art. But first, you must know why. If you want your image to look classical, use a classical compositional technique like dynamic symmetry. But you don’t need to use these all the time. Learn them, but be mindful about when you use them. Don’t fall back on them, just because them. Think firstly about what you were saying before you decide how to say it.
4. Squint or blur your eyes
whenever you go set up a shot, squint or blur your eyes, this will help you see abstract color and shape and form.
We are so used as human beings to reading the world around us, that sometimes it’s very difficult to take that step backwards and look at it in a more abstract way. But squinting or blowing your eyes will help you see where the contrast areas are. It helps you see the more saturated in the light areas are.
And this can really help guide you in setting up a nicely balanced shot,
5. Think conceptually as well as aesthetically
Why are you shooting what you’re shooting? What do you want your viewers to think when they see your shot? What do you want your audience to feel?
Everything about the way you compose an image will tell part of a story. For example, the angle you shoot from can change how a subject is represented.
Being up high looking down can detach the viewer emotionally. It becomes more of an overview short. Very matter of fact, it is a slightly godlike position.
Looking down on the world below, the viewer is a privileged observer and not part of the scene.
But if you shoot from ground level, you’re part of the scene. And by extension, anyone viewing the shot?
A low shot looking up at subjects can give that subject a sense of dominance and power.
Cropping in close to someone’s face can make a shot more intimate and more claustrophobic.
Having a subject surrounded by a lot of space can make them more vulnerable and more defined by their environment.
Sometimes moving further away or using a wide lens can add some wider story to your shot.
Decide whether context is important. Are you making social or political commentary about the subject you are shooting? You might want to consider showing something in relation to its surroundings.
But when making your subject smaller in the frame, be careful. As your subject should probably still be the focal point of your image, you can achieve this by using light, contrast, color, leading lines, or any of the other trident tested techniques to draw the viewer’s to your subject. Maybe employing those mathematical compositional rules will make your image feel perfectly balanced.
But what if you don’t want it for perfectly balanced? What if you want your view to feel uneasy because of the subject matter of the photograph? Always consider what you want your image to say before you decide how to say it.
6. Keep it simple
In slight contrast to my previous point about showing wider context. A really common compositional mistake is that people include too much irrelevant detail in the frame. Everything in the frame should be relevant. It should be part of the story. If it’s not, get rid of it. Look for simplified backgrounds, for fewer distracting elements, try making your subject fill the frame. The act of composing a shot is in itself a form of editing. Your audience won’t know what they can’t see. Throwing stuff away can be difficult, but it can also be very liberating.
7. Watch the edges
Pay particular attention to the borders of your frame. Try not to cut off people’s elbows or the top of someone’s hair, or the top of trees or buildings or whatever is your photographing.
Distracting elements of the edge of the frame can draw the viewer’s eye away from your point of focus. So, try and keep them clean.
8. Work in post
Don’t be afraid to work in post-production to get that perfect composition. You can crop. You can relevel your image. It’s better to do it in camera, but you have quite a lot of options in post-production. Taking time to compose a shot is important, but so is not missing the moment. The more you crop in post, the best you will become a judging composition in camera. Try testing a shot by flipping the image into a mirrored view, try inverting the colors, and try turning upside down. Does it still feel balanced?
A while cropping in post is great. Also, don’t be afraid to Photoshop our elements that are making your shot unbalanced or creating tension by being tune in the edge. If there’s something brightly colored in the background that’s drawing your eye from the subject, change its color, desaturate it or simply clone it out. That’s why the clone stamp is there.
Steve McCurry does this all the time. You could argue its cheating, and by all means, follow your own set of ethics and values. But be aware that you’re making things harder for yourself. It’s up to you.
But the key thing here is practice. There are so many compositional rules that you can’t possibly consciously think about every single one every time you take any photograph. But do take time to learn them. Do take time to practice them. Learn one at a time, go out and try practicing that particular one. And eventually, you’ll absorb them all. And they will become kind of a natural part of your intuitive visual understanding.
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