Saturday, January 18, 2020

PictureCorrect: Top 10 Composition Tips in Photography

Photography is all about composition. If you can’t compose an image, you can’t take photos. That’s the bottom line. This is where your photography journey starts as a beginner. Learning to place the elements in the photo is natural for some, but the rest of us we have to learn.

clear subject

photo by Giuseppe Milo

So what is composition? The dictionary definition is “the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole.” What you are looking to do in composing an image is to take the important parts of the scene and combine them to create a photo that’s pleasing to the eye. This is all well and good, but how can we do this most effectively? Here are my top ten tips.

1. Clearly identify your subject

This is the non-negotiable of photography. Unless your subject is the focal point of the image you don’t have a photo. When looking at the image, a person should be able to clearly identify the subject. So make sure you give enough attention to the subject of your focus.

2. Fill your frame

One of the most common mistakes made by budding photographers is failing to fill the frame with their subject or the major elements of the image. Get in closer and exclude the parts that you don’t want. Open space serves no purpose when the subject is too small or cannot be identified.

3. Horizontal vs. vertical

Camera manufacturers are to blame for this dilemma because all cameras are designed to be held in a horizontal format. It shouldn’t be an ‘either or’ situation but rather a ‘both’. Try to shoot 50 percent of the time in both formats. There is no rule which is best, and the key is to experiment.

4. Dramatic angles

Shoot from high up or low down. Use your feet and move around the subject looking for an optimum angle. Don’t be afraid to get down on your stomach or climb a tree. Look for different and dramatic angles that will make your images more striking.

dramatic angles

photo by Robert de Bock

5. Don’t amputate

This means that you shouldn’t cut off part of your subject unless it is intentional to create an effect. Missing parts of people or objects irritate the viewer and create an incomplete image. It distracts the eye. So watch the edges of your image.

6. The rule of thirds

Imagine a tic tac toe grid or noughts and crosses lines running across your image dividing it into thirds horizontally and vertically. Where the lines cross or intersect are the best placement points for your subjects or objects. Never place the horizon of a landscape image in the center of your image. Always place it on a horizontal two thirds line. Subjects like lighthouses can be placed along one of the vertical two thirds lines.

7. Look for frames

Frames come in two types: natural or man-made. An example of a natural frame would be an opening in trees or a rock formation with a hole in it. Man-made frames are doorways, windows, or arches. All of these help contain the subject or scene in a form that is pleasing to the eye.

8. Simplify

Trying to include too much in an image often spoils it. An image that is cluttered causes the viewer’s eye to dart around the image trying to make sense of it. Less is more, as the old adage goes. Eliminate anything that’s distracting or unnecessary to the memory you are attempting to create.

eliminate distractions

photo by damon jah

9. Watch your background

Make sure that there is nothing in the background that detracts from your subject—things like chimneys growing out of heads and other subjects diverting the eye from the main subject. You want balance by not going in too close but including enough of the environment of the subject to contextualize it.

10. Lines, patterns and shapes

Look for interesting patterns, lines and shapes. Lines lead the eye to focal points. A river, road, fence or path in a classic ‘s’ shape draws the eye along the route into your image. Strong verticals give height to your image, and diagonals add depth. Turn your viewfinder, allowing straight lines to travel from corner to corner in the image.

Key to great composing is thought. Think before your press the shutter button and consider all of these points. Create a mental check list to help you add these elements and create that great composition.

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years. Passionate about photography, radio and video, he is a Radio CCFm producer and presenter in Cape Town.


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Friday, January 17, 2020

Tokina Debuts atx-m Series for Sony E-mount with the Tokina 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens

From Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd.:
 
Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE worldwide sales date announcement
 
Jan 17, 2020
 
The Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE is the first lens debuting in atx-m series designed to fit Sony E-mount full frame cameras. It is a completely newly designed medium tele photo prime lens in Tokina line-up featuring popular 85mm focal length and fast f/1.8 aperture that is excellent spec combination for shooting portraits, landscapes, street snaps and close up shots.
 
Sales will commence on February 7, 2020.
 
High-Lighted Features
  • Simple and sophisticated design and high build quality based on anodized semi-satin finish metal and optical glass materials.
  • Smooth and beautiful bokeh, comparatively round light points in out of focus area thanks to fast aperture f/1.8, large diameter of front glass element and low light fall-off performance.
  • Outstanding resolving ability from corner to corner thanks to 10 glass elements including 1 SD element.
  • Effective ghost and flares care thanks to Tokina's exclusive Super Low Reflection Coating with water, oil&dust repellent abilities.
  • Quiet, speedy and accurate focusing realized by ST-M focus motor actuation.
  • Smooth and precise manual focusing thanks to all-metal made unit and high standard grease materials.
  • Complete data correspondence with camera body that provides full advantage of the latest features of the Sony A7 series such as 5-axis image stabilization, MF assist, Face/Eye Priority AF, Real-time Eye AF and the electronic distance scale.
  • Developed and manufactured in accordance with Sony-licensed specifications.

B&H is taking preorders for the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE Lens for Sony E.



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Adding Texture to a Studio Portrait


 
From the Adorama YouTube Channel:
 
A textured wall in your studio could well be the perfect background for your portrait photos. Even a slight texture can add the feeling of depth and interest to a portrait that a plain wall often can't. Of course not many photographers have the space of a permanently textured wall, so in this video Gavin Hoey walks you through a shoot in his small home studio, where he plans to replace a simple, smooth fabric background with some texture.
 
After the shoot, Gavin takes you into Photoshop where he passes on some simple tricks to add a gentle texture over the original portrait. He then goes on to blend everything togther by means of a quick color toning technique.
 
If you're looking to enhance a smooth background with a small amount of texture, this technique opens up a whole new world of background styles.


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PetaPixel: Amateur and Pro Photographer Swap Gear in Head-to-Head Photo Challenge

We’ve seen tons of “expensive camera vs cheap camera” challenges and “pro photographer cheap camera challenges,” but what happens when a newbie and a pro swap gear and go head-to-head? That’s what YouTuber Henbu wanted to find out.

In an entertaining new head-to-head video, Henbu traded his $5,750 worth of professional photo gear with his brother Nathan, who had recently acquired a Sony a6000 kit on sale for about 500 bucks. Then they went out and tried shooting several of the same locations using their respective kits.

For Nathan, that meant learning how to use a Sony a7III, 24mm f/1.4 GM, 85mm f/1.8, 55mm f/1.8, and a Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8:

While Henbu was limited to just the a6000 and kit lens:

You probably see where this is going.

No matter the location, Henbu is able to take advantage of his experience and knowledge of composition, color, and even just the basics of how to use and set the camera in order to capture much more pleasing images. Our favorites are the shots around the 6:22 mark, which really stand out from the rest.

In fact, even when they picked the same or similar compositions, it’s immediately obvious which photographer took each shot.

Check out the full shootout above for a fun Friday afternoon reminder that, while gear might help you get a better shot (or do more of the work for you), nothing can replace experience and an understanding of the art of photography.

(via Fstoppers)



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Dpreview.com: Fotodiox's new Vizelex Cine ND Throttle Fusion adapter connects EF lenses to GFX cameras


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PetaPixel: Wedding Photographer Sues Venue for $577K After She Fell and Broke Her Knee

A wedding photographer in Australia is suing a wedding venue and styling company for over $500,000 after she slipped on a piece of fabric and shattered her knee—an incident she says could have been avoided and has cost her hundreds of thousands in lost work.

In 2017, photographer and cinematographer Bernadette Draffin was shooting a wedding at the Cherbon Waters Equestrian Centre in Brisbane when she slipped on a sash that came loose from around a guest’s chair, breaking her knee in four places. She told the Daily Mail Australia that the injury required surgery and months of physical therapy, took a toll on her personal life at home, and has hurt her ability to work as a photographer.

She tells the Daily Mail that she’s “still struggling” from the accident, is unable to do more than one wedding per week, and must now pay an assistant “at least $1,500 per wedding” just to help her get around. In all she’s seeking damages to the tune of $577,164, including $100,000 for lost income and $258,030 for potential future income that she won’t be able to earn.

Draffin is reportedly suing both the Cherbon Waters venue and the styling company, Captivating Moments, claiming that they are both to blame for her injury—the venue for failing to address the loose pieces of fabric after they were allegedly told that they were a potential hazard and should be picked up, and the styling company for not properly securing the fabric to the chairs.

Ms. Draffin’s lawyer, James Hickman, tells The Courier Mail that he hopes the accident “will serve as a cautionary tale to all companies involved in wedding planning to be extra vigilant about the safety of their guests.”

We’ve reached out to Ms. Draffin and the Cherbon Waters venue for comment on this story, and will update our coverage if and when we hear back.

(via Inside Imaging)



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New Tokina 85mm f/1.8 for Sony E-Mount

Last night Tokina officially announced the new atx-m line of lenses for autofocus, full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, and they kicked off the launch with the Tokina atx-m 85mm F1.8 FE lens. The Tokina uses a quiet stepping motor to focus, and its body is made of anodized aluminum. And unlike some Tokina lenses that have been announced recently, they claim that the 85mm f/1.8 has a completely new optical design.

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

The Tokina 85mm f/1.8 has a 9-blade aperture for smoother bokeh, an optical formula that includes 10 elements in seven groups including one SD element, and the lens uses Tokina’s anti-flare coatings. It’s larger than some of the others on the market, weighing 1.4lbs (635g) and it has 72mm filter threads (while Sony’s uses 67mm), but it is designed to be compatible with all of Sony’s stabilization and focus modes.

A Crowded 85mm f/1.8 Market

According to Tokina, the lens will go on sale starting Feb. 7th, 2020, at which point it will cost $499 (it is currently available for pre-order at B&H and Adorama).

However, the lens will be entering a very crowded marketplace at this particular focal length. Of course, Sony already offers an 85mm f/1.8 FE lens which is smaller and lighter and costs about $599.

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

But that’s not all. Viltrox also makes a popular, low-priced version of the lens that is suspiciously similar to the Tokina. It also weighs about 1.4 lbs, has an optical formula of 10 elements in 7 groups, and uses an STM motor, and has 72mm filter threads. It costs $399. It will be interesting to see whether Tokina has just licensed the same design.

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

And at the same price as the Sony f/1.8, Samyang/Rokinon makes an autofocus 85mm f/1.4 lens that is very well regarded, and costs $1200 less than the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM. The hefty 1.8lb Samyang lens is sturdily built and weather sealed for professional use, has an optical formula of 11 elements and strong autofocus performance… and an additional 2/3rds stops of light.

Which lens will be the best choice? That’s a good question, and we’ll certainly have to spend some time testing them all out. One thing is certain, though: Sony is the only full-frame mirrorless system that has anything like these kinds of lens options, and the competition will be good for all Sony shooters.




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