Find the Right Composition
Compositions so important and everybody always ask me this question everytime I teach and I always say it because it's such a such a and my blood and I were talking about yesterday, composition is powerful, powerful stuff, and there is a rule called the rule of thirds that consists of what's called the power points, so basically make a tic tac toe box on your image and where the points meet are called the power points, and if you put your subject on those power points, it's going to create much better composition in your image, it's going to tell a story each of those power points can have meaning? This is where everybody wants to know, because I say this all the time, but I haven't written it down anywhere because it is something that's made to be broken. It's not a hard, fast rule, it's kind of an interpretation, the power points we read in the western world from left to right, correct. So when we enter an image, we typically kind of sweep across it like that subconsciously it's not ...
a conscious choice. If you start looking at imagery more and more in analyzing composition, you'll find yourself doing this so watch for it down here sorry, god in east, then it's the opposite, exactly depending on where people are watching around the world necessary totally I should have noted that earlier because we were talking about that last night in asian countries where they read from bottom to top and rightto left it is the exact opposite okay so over here in the lower right is kind of the place of rest the place of finish it's the place of peace and calming you'll see me in my work I put a lot of babies down in the lower right corner because so happy and content the upper right power point is still that finished moment but it's exulted it's up in the air if you look at some of the great art works in the world jesus will be up in that upper right hand power point because it's kind of an angelic very ethereal, very heavenly like position what like the shot with the newborn baby were dad's hands are like this and you don't see dad all put the baby in the upper right power port because it looks glorified it looks heavenly it looks very angelic the lower left power point is a little kind of uncertain when you put a subject over here and have nothing over here it kind of feels like stunted like what's next like I'm finished what's the future yes you can ask questions it feels a little awkward when I did a an image of an orphan I put the orphan over here in the lower left uncertain future telling a story and just do people consciously know this? Of course not it's a subliminal thing, but it impacts the image and how you create it. The upper left is actually quite precipitous it's like hanging in the balance like, oh my gosh, we're not only are we on the left side with an unfinished future, but we're hanging up there like dangling, okay? So like people laughing his butt up, brian on the cliff about to commit suicide that's where you put her, do you know what I mean? It sounds like really more, but it definitely, but I don't think obviously don't take suicide lightly, but you want to put that kind of a strong story up there or, like oftentimes there's, some amazing artists who will put there's this one guy who does these composites of high scenes like he'll be on top of a building and will shoot down, and somehow he manages to get himself like, as if he's hanging off, I mean, you know, it's, not riel he's hanging off, and he'll put himself over there to, like, create that tension any minute you know that that kind of feeling works really well in the upper left power point, so use the power points consciously to give depth and meaning to your images now that you kind of know how you can influence that you're going to be looking at those power points a lot differently here going being where should I put somebody and how can I tell more of a story and doing so well the view of your image no you're doing that probably not but it just adds layer upon layer upon layer of intrigue and depth to what you're doing in the story you're trying to say the golden mean is another one that kind of mother nature's magic composition ah spiral oftentimes you'll see images of staircases like with the subject at the bottom kind of thing that's a really neat golden mean type image and then back her saddle is based on a mathematical formula it's very close to the rule of thirds but it depends kind of on the overall cropping ratio of the image but oftentimes I will use backer saddle what you do is you take a line across the center and then take from each corner meat the main line at a right angle so this should be a right angle and s o it it'll change depending on the side of your image if it goes this way or if it goes this way those power points are going to be in different spots okay john what did you have something? No no but yeah it's kind of cool isn't it the way the way it it can shift so it's loosely based on the rule of thirds, but not quite, but here's a good example of that. The floor helped create the design. Okay, so we've got the floor on the diagonals, yet the baby is kind is not perfectly located the face, so they're on the back of saddle point. But that should give you at least some kind of idea of why I put the boards in the floor at a diagonal like that and the baby in that upper left point now babies enough left upper left point rules are made to be broken. He's not hanging off a cliff about to die. Dude, I'm say so rules may be broken. Don't take that's why? I don't really write these things down because it's not meant to be taken as a law, it totally meant for interpretation and something to be broken. But I want you to think about this when you do your images. Looks like john has a question. Yeah, well in in the rule of thirds, we were dealing with a square in the composition in backer saddle looks like you really have only instead of four power points, you only have two. And so that upper left, like you talked about creating that tension, does that really apply to this or, you know, it can, I think I think it's more so on the four power points, but definitely if we put the baby down the lower right, it would feel more grounded when that it would feel more saw solid um, I guess really that when it comes down to john is the rules are made to be broken and you have to kind of interpret it how you want based on the subject matter basically colors you're using and based on the size ratio of the image that you're tryingto to create thiss the beauty of being an artist thank you, it's fun is fun to be an artist and it's fun to break the rules sometimes camera angle point of view you like? I said, you're going to see a lot of pictures of my kids in this presentation today, but it's so fun with kids to do unique angles, ok, from behind their perspective is a really fun angle down low with them, you know, like down at their level, as is a classic way to go about photographing children on dh, then from above, because from above, he's sitting on a scale there in my bathroom so cute when we got him so mostly test make it, um e I know and I'm really looking like whatever is an iphone picture, but to me it's like e can't wait times god um but you look, you know, looking down on them like that makes them seem so small and creates a whole another story to it. So look at your camera angles for those of you who are beginners, I'm just focused on these three right now focus on what they see from their perspective. It's ok to shoot the back, your kid's head it really is and it tells a story it's ok to shoot them down low at their angle and not show every part of their face and it's ok to shoot them from above. I try not to shoot from above unless I'm really, really trying to say something about how smalley is, because I think too many images from above over time, if that's all that's in your portfolio, it tends to be what kinds has a message of domineering like he's always, he said, it doesn't give that variety yeah, it's like looking down on the child, one of my mentors ah, long time ago, cheryl jacobs, who was an amazing black and white film photographer she used to say how much she hated that her parents took images of from above from over the top of her because it sent such a I'm not valuable enough human being message like when she looked at the images she felt small, she felt looked down upon and so for her, getting down at the child's level was so important because it made the child feel like they were just as important as an adult because they are looked at at their point of view from how they see the world not what the adult is forcing on them some make sense so just a little a little tip it obviously she might get up of, you know all the time because it's really cute, but I think just keep the variety and you want the message to your son also the message you send your children ultimately to be one of I wanted you from every way of life and every way that you were ok some quick tips on your iphone tio open the cameras is really cool and I'll show you this as we get into working with the camera from a lock screen like you know you haven't put in your passcode yet from a locked screen, press the home button and just swipe upward in the camera remedial open like this is awesome with kids how often are you like what is this you're opening a passcode and la you know it makes you crazy grab your phone, press the home button on the right side, you'll see a little camera I can swipe up right there and the camera will instantly open like that that is the fastest way to get your camera if you're in, if you've already opened up with a pass code, you can again swipe up and there's an icon there to press for your cameras will actually a little slower, believe it or not, than being from a lock screen so that's kind of quick ways to get into your camera on the iphone camera. The grid is amazing because it's it's those power points for you right there on the rule of thirds, so I used the grid all the time because it helps me see where my power points are in the image. So go to settings, cameron photos there's a little screen shot there, and you just want to turn on the grid right there to make sure you click it's those green and that will turn on your grid and give you a great compositional tool every time you open your camera, you can set focus and exposure, okay, when you have your phone open, you can touch the screen where you wanted to focus and expose ok, which is pretty cool, so you don't have to just hold up your camera and hope that it focuses on the right thing. You can actually touch where the subject is and go focus and will focus right there and I'll show you all this in the camera here is a step even cooler if you touch and hold it will lock focus and exposure right there and you can re compose your image however you want snapped the picture and bam you're done here's even cooler touch and lock the focus and exposure and you'll see the little son I can come up right there you can swipe up or down on your camera that will adjust exposure it'll darken her light in the image which is pretty cool because you can touch exposure like you can touch a face so you have a really dark back are really bright background in a dark subject you want to focus and get the exposure on the person right because you want that to be what's what's good well sometimes a phone's it'll act funny or it won't cut expose it right it'll focus nice lock that focus and then you can swipe up and down and you can adjust your exposure making it darker lighter based on how you like the look of the image in case that we'll do that in the phone as well. Ok uh yeah I think I just burst mode great for kids oh my gosh, how many of you know this if you just keep holding the shutter button, it'll burst t e I think you're going like one hundred pictures showing granted that's a lot of gigs you're putting on your phone you gotta raise them all, so keep that in mind but with a child it's wonderful because you just go, you can lock your focus exposure go and then it'll just captain, capture them in motion, ok, keep in mind when they're moving now, granted, the iphone runs at a very open, very close down aperture, so a lot it doesn't have a big depth of field, and especially if you're subject is far away from you everything's pretty much going to focus, but if you're shooting your kid like right here and you lock focus and exposure and you start bursting and they moved back and forth on the front of this thing, some of the images we're going to focus, so just keep that in mind that it's not a tracking focus, it won't track your kid as a zit moves, but it will burst. Okay, okay, but this is amazing for kids, and oftentimes I mean it's, it's spray and pray right? So we call it spray and pray e got one day I get what I know have got one look through your images, and chances are you'll have one or two and sometimes it comes down to with the one year old living around, we've got israel, whose eleven months I may be using burst a couple times to like, get what I need so it's okay to do that there's no problem just make sure you go through and delete the ones you don't want cause trust me trying to clean out an iphone is a little bit of a pain in the baby four weeks all this is my son when he was for refills, so to the lenders like, oh, thank you, um things to remember about this age. First of all, they don't do much they sleep but that's the beautiful part about it because they're easy to capture because they're not moving. Okay, I love to get the abstract shots, the little cloth diaper with his legs, you know, little coast, close ups of the face, his feet rather than his face, that kind of thing, the first smile and of course, he's, right he's in my arms, right there next to a window on that was literally when we came home from the hospital, and he gave that little sleepy smile that I love so much but keeping it naturalist, sometimes best and it's about the image design if you if they are moving around a lot and kind of awkward looking or moving their legs so much that you can't get a good shot with the iphone, swallow them up, titan bundling up that said, that helps a lot look for the details in the abstract don't always get the face get the little details that your own might want to remember his little hand on a on a surface or something like that can be concretely lovely designed image and always go for those unique angles as well so this is team and he was four weeks old as well this image he was moving his arms and yawning is totally soft it's barely even in focus. Okay, but sometimes that doesn't matter when you're shooting with your iphone but the color harmony and everything makes it so that he pops out and this is one of my favorite images even though it's not that technically great andi, I think that's what's important to keep in mind four months old of course that smile is beginning to develop and using negative space and other objects in the frame to tell a story here you know, I just he's on a rug I mean he's on a rug in my living room and I literally just stood over him and went like this and put his little favorite chew toy of the moment right next to him and that's the image I mean that's really a simple clean I don't even worry about color here I'm just worried about composition and design and putting the memory in there that he loved that little butterfly and that little butterfly or be or whatever it is was given to him by his aunt jenny. And so those sentimental things add added to an image can also create for a great moment and a great snapshot. By the time they start getting a little older, you could start telling a story. Okay, that's, winston's toy and dean wants it. My funding and winston's watching him. Like, how fast are we going to get there? You know, and that's my that's, my backyard. And I saw them doing this and I was like, oh, my gosh, pull out the camera who cares? But do you see the triad iq composition? How I used the three triangles to kind of create the story line and you can't see my kids faith this image is about whether or not winston or or dean is gonna get their first. Okay. Unfortunately, dean pasto deem best way winston passed away probably six months after that photo was taken which so it's very special to me. Winston is my for baby he's the dog I got before I got married. He's the one who put me through all the breakup he's, the one who slept on my belly when I was pregnant and with his head, so he was a good soul, he died too young of cancer, unfortunately, but, um I miss him every every day in this image, even though show off my iphone is a total snapshot is one of my favorites. It's, really one of my favorites, and what you'll notice is, dean's. Lovey is underneath his feet. That levee is still with him. Today it is thread baron, ugly, dirty. He won't let us wash it, you know, that kind of thing. So if you've been like, and, of course, twelve months old, this is when they're moving, oh, my god, sometimes getting them the sleep is the best thing to do on. And also converting to black and white is there is really fun, but sitting up, crawling, standing the phases that we're in at this time, pinching, grasping that personality and that storytelling.