A Brief View Of Photographic Composition

What's the secret to great compositions in images? It starts with knowing the 'rules', sticking to the major ones, and then throwing them out in favor of your own style! 

I came across the video the other day and thought it may be helpful for those of you just getting started with photography. The images it uses to demonstrate the principles are nothing too special within themselves, but I do think he gives a few good pointers that can help everyone. 

What's the secret to great compositions in images? It starts with knowing the 'rules', sticking to the major ones, and then throwing them out in favor of your own style! 

A few of the major takeaways from this video are:

-What's your intended Point of Interest? If you don't, how can your viewers?

-Keep in mind the 'Rule of Thirds', but don't treat it as gospel. 

-Framing generally helps direct the eye where you want it, and can come in a nearly endless variety of flavors and techniques. 

-Keep an eye on the Eye Line of your subjects. 

-'The Eyes Have It' Focus on the eyes is perhaps one of the 'unbreakable' rules of photography.

-Every Element in an image should be there because you want it there

-Busy or distracting backgrounds will kill your images every time. 

-Bright colors and overexposed areas draw the eye directly in, whether that's where you want them to be or not. 

-Lead the viewer's eye into your images

-Leave room for the subject to move or 'be', without feeling too boxed in. 

-Our eyes and cameras see things differently. Learn how and why and use it to your advantage. 

-Great photographs not only record what you saw, but communicate it to others, without needing words or language. 

Lightroom Tip #490 In The Possible Worst Case...

Let's just pretend to have the nightmare scenario that one morning you wake up and all of your hard drives, backups and RAW files have ascended away from this Earth. If you still have your computer and Lightroom, there might be a chance you could, at least minimally, salvage your images. This article on Fstoppers, which is a great resource by the way, gives you the rundown on how you might be able to save some of your work, if you've had things set up the right way. Read on, and let's pray there's never a real need for this! 

Video: Library Organization in Lightroom

Lightroom is not only a powerful image editing platform, but can and/or should also serve as your digital image and video library. But before you start getting thousands of images in your library, it's important to follow a few ground rules, so that you can always find your images later, as well as making sure Lightroom doesn't lose track of where your images are as well. This quick video from Adobe's Julieanne Kost will give you the rundown on the best practices. 

Video: Photoshop CC: 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How To Do

I'm a visual learner. I like to watch rather than read. If you're like me, and are new to Photoshop, you may like to watch this 45 minute video from Adobe Creative Cloud TV. Over the course of the video, you'll see how to: 

  1. How to remove blemishes or 'touch up' a portrait (using the Spot Healing Tool)

  2. Working with Layers and Adjustment Layers

  3. Working with Masks

  4. How to Crop

  5. How to adjust exposure and fix colour-cast problems (using the Camera RAW filter)

  6. How to remove an object from a photo (using Content Aware Fill)

  7. How to move an object in a photo (using Content Aware Move) and duplicate/transform content

  8. How to remove a subject from a photo and place it on a new background (using Smart Select and Refine Edge)

  9. How to add text

  10. How to save your photos in both editable and sharable format

Follow Photoshop:

Lightroom Tip #239 Brush Tool Advanced


The brush tool can be your best friend in Lightroom, allowing you to add just about any adjustment you like onto very specific parts of your image. But did you know LR also lets us have 2 brushes set up to quickly switch between the amount of adjustment being added?

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With the A & B brushes, you can set a different Flow and Density for each, letting you choose and quickly switch between the amount of adjustment you're painting on. Sometimes you'll need a high Flow and Density to achieve a powerful effect, other times you'll want lower settings to give you much more subtle changes. Set up your A & B brushes to your most common needs, and start saving time!

And what the heck is Auto Mask? Basically, it's LR's way of coloring within the lines. If you have it turned on, and you're painting effects on areas with very definable lines, say a red car against a blue sky, LR will try to follow the lines in the image, allowing you to paint a bit faster and with a little less accuracy than you may think you need to.


Bonus: Keyboard Shortcuts for the Brush Tool

(K) – Open Adjustment Brush Menu
([ or ]) – Decrease or Increase Brush Size
(Shift [ or Shift ]) Decrease or Increase Feather Size
(1-9) – Easily Change the Flow of the Brush
(O) – Turn on painted area to see where you brushed.
(Shift – O) – Change color of painted area.
(Alt or Option) – Turn your brush into an eraser tool.

Photoshop Tip #455 Cropping (The Right Way)

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.21.01 AM.jpg

If you're going to crop your images in Photoshop, there's one little button that's pretty new and very important. The Delete Cropped Pixels option does exactly what it says, if checked, it will throw away the cropped out part of your image, never to be seen again! This is how Photoshop worked until a few years ago, called Destructive editing, and is generally not a good way to work. Just as Lightroom works completely in Non-Destructive editing, meaning your original image files are never altered, but simply instructions for their edits are laid on top of the image, you can go back and change them at any time. If you leave this unchecked in Photoshop, and your save your document in .PSD (.JPG will not work), you'll be able to come back and adjust your crop later, with all of your original image still there! 

Photo Tip #833 Reflections

Yangon, Myanmar 2010

Always keep an eye open for reflections, not only in mirrors, but glass and water can also help provide some interesting elements to your images. Reflections can add depth to your images and transform basic or boring images into something more artistic and beautiful. Reflections can also show us a bit of what's hidden in the capture of the scene. Above, though we can't see the monk sitting there, we know he's there by using the small mirror on his bed to add him into the scene. Below, the reflection in the muddy water gives us the elements of the cows and the man standing, waiting to start the race, without shooting them so directly or literally. 

Reflections are everywhere, so keep an eye out for them while you're shooting, and you should be able to come back with some beautiful, interesting images! 

Chau Doc, Vietnam 2010