Friday, May 25, 2012

Artsy Fartsy Friday! Guest Blogger

Today I welcome Shanyn Silinski to Artsy Fartsy Friday. Shanyn recently posted some lovely photos on Facebook - not the first time. Shanyn has a few things to say about taking good photos even without a great camera, and more. Comments welcome! ~ Sheila 

Don’t Delete That Photo!

by Shanyn Silinski

Two rules to remember about that ‘bad’ photo you took:
1)      Don’t delete it off the camera.  That little screen for previews won’t let you see if you actually caught something special.
2)      Look carefully at the whole photo, not just what you wanted to take the photo of, and see if there is anything to salvage.
I have learned over the years, using film and digital media, that you can find a lot more than you imagined if you look at the whole photo.
Another point if you are thinking of deleting a photo are cropping choices and even digital edits for color, hue, saturation and sharpness.  What your eye sees isn’t always what you capture but with good cropping and editing habits you can make a nice image all the same.  If you want free editing with great options and control try picassa from Google. 
Do not despair of your camera if it is not the newest or the best.  It can be used to take great photos, if you as the photographer, can learn how to get the most out of your camera.  It wasn’t until this year that I got a DSL frame for my lenses.  I always had a smaller, almost pocket sized camera, and I took it everywhere and got really good photos.  It just took taking more photos and working harder to get them.  Almost everyone, except proficient amateurs and professionals, undershoot their equipment.  Even then lots of times we get a bit lazy and don’t fully use our gear as it could be.
Go back to the basics –frame your shots.  Make sure you know not only what you are shooting but what is around you.  Think about light. Think about shadows.  And take LOTS of photos!  You can delete before you print a single one.  Back in the day we did our deleting and cropping in the darkroom, now we do it on a laptop or phone. 
If you get a chance to frame your shot, look for things that add drama and visual interest.  If you are walking around, take photos from lots of different angles, get on the ground if you can or go over top, find an extreme angle and see how it feels.
Remember what is behind your subjects, and think about light as well.  Is the shot nice but the background terrible?  Try a different angle. 
Once you are back on the computer, check for all the elements in your photo before you crop.  There may be a photo that could be cropped into two shots.  Looking at the sides and background components can add a lot of fun to a shot.
Here are some examples of images untouched and after a good crop and edit. See the differences and I think you’ll see that often you can still get a great image from a good photo.

He is a nice little bull, and looking right at you, but this wide a shot
has the distraction of two other cows.
By cropping him almost to the horns you’ve given the visual impression of how wide they are and while you can still see some of the other two cows they are not a distraction but provide balance in a visual triangle.

This is a nice enough shot, good composition and color.  A couple of visual
 triangles but quite flat.  Let’s try another angle.

Same group of flowers, just changed my angle a bit, and instead of trying to capture all the flowers inf focus I chose one.

 For a totally different take on the same group of flowers I did a macro shot of one but just starting to open. I made sure when I cropped it to leave an unfocussed open flower behind it so the viewer would know what sort of anticipation was building in that bud.

In this shot, they are not looking at me, but I still know they are playing. The visual triangle moves from their heads to the toys to their hands.
This siding is terrible. It is a neutral color but the horizontal lines are very distracting. I took a few steps to my right and knelt down to get this final shot.
You can see faces, you can see their hands mirroring each other in play and you can see the sand and toys. It tells a complete story with visual interest and very few distractions.

The new pine cones on the spruce tree were very nice, but in this
 shot there are a lot of them and it seems busy.
I drew in the focus, and brought the eye to one single branch and a new cone. 
I started to walk way and noticed the light on the other side of the tree. While this shot is not as dramatic it has interesting light and really shows the detail of the needles.

Note from Sheila: Shanyn didn't include these next two photos in her post, but the cropped version is one of my favorites of hers, partly because the red-winged blackbird is one of my favorite birds. (Okay, yes, I have at least a hundred favorite birds, but this is one of them!) Since they weren't in the post, I exercised my editorial authority and asked Shanyn to send them along. So here's one more example of the power of cropping.

The original photo.

The much more dramatic cropped photo.

Portrait of Shanyn by Earl Silinski.
Shanyn is a poet, author, photographer who lives on her small ranch with her sweet husband and son in south eastern Manitoba, Canada.  She started taking photos when she was old enough to hold a camera and load her film.  She blogs in a number of places but you’ll find her photos mostly at Shanyn's blog and with her poetry at  Sunflower Poetry  Her facebook page Photos by Shanyn  is all photos, all the time!  Her favorite things are her Nikon DSL camera, taking macro shots and finding new ways to capture her son’s laughter and the beauty of nature.
 All images copyright Shanyn Silinski, Photos by Shanyn. Used with permission. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me Sheila, and I'm glad you exerted your editorial authority to include the blackbird photo!