This month's issue talks about the concept of "visual weight" and how it can be used to create strong compositions in your pictures. Our "cool link" points to some fun pictures that create the look of a transparent computer screen (so you can the what's behind it through the screen) -- but without using any Photoshop! We have a new creativity exercise to challenge you. Finally, our tip of the month talks about how to use your wide angle lens to create a real sense of depth in your images. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!
Visual Weight - What's That All About?
Visual weight is a concept that describes how our eyes are drawn more to certain objects than others. You can use the idea of visual weight to help you design good photographic compositions. By knowing what things draw the eye, you can express to your viewer what you think is important. You can also avoid including distracting elements in your picture which pull your viewer's eye away from the subject.
First and foremost, our eyes are drawn to whatever is "different." That means that a light objects stands out against a dark background, and vice versa. It means that a circular object stands out among a group of triangular ones. A lone blue ball will stand out among a sea of orange ones. You get the idea! Contrast creates visual weight.
In addition to contrast, there are other factors that affect visual weight. Certain colors carry more visual weight than others. For example, red pulls our eye more than blue. Also, an object's position within the frame affects its visual weight. Objects close to the edge of the frame carry more visual weight than those in the middle.
To learn more about how to use visual weight to make deliberate compositional choices, and create strong images, visit this article:
Creativity is about pushing your boundaries and thinking outside the box. This month, find an object that you consider "ordinary," and make at least 20 images of it. It should be something you wouldn't normally consider beautiful. It could be an old boot, a coffee cup, your car, laundry, or anything else you wouldn't usually photograph. If you get frustrated, push through and keep shooting. If you allow yourself to keep photographing past the point where you think you've taken all possible images of something, by definition, you are being creative. You can get some really fresh and exciting images this way!
If bugs are something you don't normally consider beautiful, how about taking some photographs of those and entering them into this month's photo challenge? "Bugs" is our topic for November.
Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month
Using Your Wide Angle Lens
To create a sense of depth in your landscape image, start by choosing a wide angle lens to shoot with, for example 18mm or similar. To use this lens to maximum effect, turn it vertically. Crouch down and hold the close to the ground. Aim it slightly down so that the top of the image frame is just above the horizon. Positioning the lens this way gives a lot of emphasis to the foreground which helps to create a sense of depth.
Of course, this means that the foreground should be interesting, since a third to half the image will be devoted to it. Look for interesting grasses, shells, pebbles, rocks, or anything else that will hold your viewer's eye.
Position your camera carefully to avoid any distractions in the foreground; remember, when you are very close to your subject material, it will be greatly magnified.
In addition to an interesting foreground, the best sense of depth is created when you have an interesting middle and background too. For example, an image with a grassy meadow in the foreground, a cabin in the middle, and some mountains in the background gives the viewers eye several layers to travel through from front to back, thereby emphasizing the depth.
Get out there and experiment with this technique to see how it works!
Too Cool Not to Share!
Transparent Screen Trickery
This month's "cool link" is quite fun! The effect is accomplished with just photography (and a little clever trickery), but without the use of Photoshop. It's a way to create the look of a transparent computer screen (so you can the what's behind it through the screen). Check it out, and try creating one of your own! (Please be patient -- the page contains over 20 photos and takes a while to load).
Whats New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips
I'm afraid there's not much new on the site this month. I am back in my hometown on a long term leave to take care of my Dad who is very ill. If you want to help me keep the website fresh over the next few weeks, here's how you can help!
Post a book review of your favorite photography book in our community pages:
Post a response to one of the "burning questions" in our photo forums, which have been sadly neglected of late. Feel free to email me through the contact page to suggest a topic you'd like to discuss, and I'll add it.
The topic of November's photo challenge is "Bugs." Pretty ones, creepy-crawly ones -- bring 'em on! Let's celebrate the little critters this month. Check out what images other people are submitting, and vote for your favorite:
Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!