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Thread started 20 Jun 2010 (Sunday) 14:42
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How we read a photo

218 posts
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Joined Apr 2009
Jun 20, 2010 14:42 |  #1

how we read a photo
if a professional photographer want to read a photo
photographer .... what steps he takes .... what he looks at ? from buttom .... left .. .then he looks at lines , rules applied ...etc
What makes a photo very strong and perfect and what makes it bad and ugly?

Senior Member
953 posts
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Joined Mar 2008
Location: Leesburg, VA USA
Jun 20, 2010 15:49 |  #2

Are you asking about the mechanics of how people look at a photo? I'm not expert, but there have been studies that track people's eye movements as they're presented with different pictures and their eye movements are tracked.

One book that covers a bit of the is "The Photographer's Eye."

Leesburg, Virginia
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Mostly Lurking
18 posts
Joined Apr 2009
Jun 21, 2010 05:25 |  #3

Seconded on The Photographer's Eye.

It's like a short encyclopedia of the various tools of composition, analyzed in a simple manner.

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Joined Nov 2005
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Jun 21, 2010 10:49 |  #4

Every photo is different. To read a photo many things happen naturally. The eye is typically drawn to the highest point of contrast. Contrast can manifest itself in a photograph in many ways. There is contrast in tonality, light to dark transitions. If there is a high contrast border anywhere in the shot, very bright to very dark, the eye will be drawn to that area. Other types of contrast can exist in different colors as well as items in focus/sharp vs out of focus/blurry. Our eyes are also drawn to familiar patterns espcially if they have to do with de-coding such as text/words, or familiar shapes which could be anything from a stop sign to the eyes on a face. Any one or any combination of these eye-drawing elements can be used to manipulate where the viewer looks.

Some of what makes a photo strong is an image that draws your eye immediately to the intended point of interest. It also keeps our attention on that point of interest, or even lets the eye go to a secondary, and even a third point of interest, and then back to the first point. But all these points of interest should be intentional subjects within the image. Any points our eyes are drawn to that are NOT complimenting the image makes the image weaker, such as distracting backgrounds, or areas or compostions that draw our eyes off the subject or off the page.

The skilled photographer can do things to make a stronger image in almost any environment. For example with a distracting background if there is no choice in changing the angle or environment they can choose a large aperture like f/2.8 and a long focal length lens like 200mm and shoot the subject in the foreground at a relatively close distance to blur the distracting background as to render it less distracting. If the background is far enough behind the subject they could also choose to underexpose the background a stop or two and use flash to expose the subjects properly. Maybe even do things like set the white balance for tungsten on an outdoor shot but gel the flash with CTO to render the subject neutral but create a nice blue background. Another thing that can often be controlled before you even start shooting with a portrait shoot is to have the subject wear the appropriate clothing. Usually you want the clothing to be in the same or close to the same key as the background and not have busy or distracting patterns. This makes it so our eye is drawn to the face and not the clothes. Combine these techniques and now you are creating high contrast seperation of subject from the background as to focus the viewer onto the subject.

The trick is to recognize what you can do to create the best type of contrast seperation to bring attention to the areas of your image you intend the viewer to be looking at. Of course a whole other area to consider would be the composition of the image, but plenty has been written about that subject so I won't get into that here.

Hope this helps a bit.

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218 posts
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Joined Apr 2009
Jun 23, 2010 06:10 |  #5

thanks alot all
i will try to read The Photographer's Eye book

Cream of the Crop, R.I.P.
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Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
Jun 23, 2010 09:00 |  #6

Composition Articles library (external link)

Load your image & see how it works in the Composition Adjuster. (external link)

FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

4,102 posts
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Joined May 2007
Location: Huntington Beach California
Jun 24, 2010 10:23 |  #7

Dermit, them's some wise words there. It is certainly an interesting question that was asked. Understanding what Dermit spoke about will help you take better photographs, because if you truly understand how people typically "read" photographs, you can manipulate and trick the viewer's eye to see what you want them to see. Or not see.

Sue Cassidy
GEAR: Canon 1ds, Canon 1d Mark iii, Sony RX 100, Canon 50mmL 1.2, Canon 70-200L 2.8 IS, Canon 100-400L IS, Canon 14mm L, 2.8, . Lighting: Elinchrom Rangers, D-lite 400s, Canon 580/550 flashes. 74 ' Octabank, 27' Rotalux. Editing: Aperture 3

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