Most of us share a very common hobby. We like to look at pictures. This is especially true for pictures of people we know or places we recognize. But many of us are drawn to pictures of things, places or people that aren’t so recognizable. So, what is it about photographs that draws our attention – especially those photos that have subjects other than places we recognize or people we know? What is it about a particular photograph that we find appealing and pleasing and therefore make us think it is a “good” picture? What is it about those other photographs that we don’t find very striking or seem downright boring? Over the next few minutes, this presentation will give you a few handy tips for setting your photo and posing your subject in ways that will elevate your pictures above the mere usual and make them the kind of eye catching photo that captures attention and inspires compliments.
This presentation will present you with some photographs that I’ve taken through the years. For the purposes of our discussion, let’s agree that a “good” photograph is one that grabs our attention and draws us in to take a more in-depth look at it . Conversely, let’s call a “bad” photograph one that really isn’t that captivating or is otherwise not very appealing. As you look at each of the following photographs, ask yourself whether you think the photo is a “good’ photo or a “bad “ photo and why you find it so.
This is a picture of me taken on the Mall in Washington, DC. Do you think it’s a “good” or “bad” photo? What makes it so? Notice how I’m standing. I’m facing the camera with my shoulders parallel to the picture plane. This squared off stance is referred to as a “football shoulders” pose. This is an awkward pose to view. Ladies particularly do not like to be photographed in a football shoulders pose. Simply turning slightly to one side or the other would have removed the issue of “football shoulders” from this photo.
Here’s a photograph of a couple celebrating their anniversary. What in your opinion makes this a “good” or “bad” photograph? Remember, a good photograph reaches out and grabs your attention and encourages you to look at it further.
This photograph of Civil War renactors was taken at a living history event. What about this photo makes it appealing to you or not?
The photograph is interesting if for no other reason than the unusual clothing the soldiers are wearing. Further, the iruniforms and faces are very well lit with sunlight making them prominent in the photograph. The subjects are standing such that they’re slightly turned toward one another reducing the awkward look of a “football” shoulders pose. As you can see, use of a prop like the rifle helps offset or diminish the “football” shoulders pose.
Mmmm. A summertime backyard grilling scene. Do you like this photograph? Does it appeal to you to look at it? Why?
Here’s a variation of the same photograph . Is this better or worse than the previous view? As you can see, I am made much more prominent in the photo by much better lighting. The increased lighting makes the grilling spatula and wine stand out in the picture as well. All of this works to make it easy to understand the photo is about having a good time grilling a meal in the good ol’ summertime!
My wife and I arriving at a party. Is this snapshot an eye-catching one for you? What makes it so?
A few things make this snapshot appeal to the viewer. The fedora hat is an interesting and somewhat unusual prop that stands out. Additionally, both subjects are well lit and looking directly at the camera. This automatically makes people look. While I am standing fairly square on to the picture plane, my wife’s more sideward stance helps balance out and subdue my awkward “football shoulders” stance.
Here’s a collage of pictures I’ve taken or handed the camera to someone else to snap a picture I wanted to be in. What do these four pictures have in common? Only 1 of them is sports related…. Only 2 are famous people or entertainers. The soldiers have absolutely nothing in common with the rest….. Hmmm….. Did each picture “call out” to you to look at it? How? Why?
Because each one of the four photos “fills the frame.” What does that mean? Look at the picture of ZZ Top? The 2 musicians are very prominent in the picture. They fill up the majority of the frame. Nothing is more boring than when the subject of the photograph is waaaaaay back in the picture overshadowed by a whole lot of other non-essential stuff in view. Your mind has to work too hard to figure out what the subject of the picture is. It’s all ready to move on by the time it figures out what it’s supposed to look at in the photo.
See how the soldiers fill the frame? This makes it easy for your eyes to find the subject and your mind to get the point of the photograph.
Here’s a picture of a dog. Not a bad photo. Good eye contact with the camera, subject well lit with an interesting “expression.” Not bad, but not all that unusual or eye-catching either.
Here’s a picture of a different dog. What makes it a good or bad photo? What do you think it is is about this photo that contributes to your opinion?
This picture really grabs your attention and pulls you in, doesn’t it? Why? This isn’t the typical “my dog” kind of picture is it? The unusual pose really catches your attention. Also, aren’t you kind of curious what the dog is looking at off picture? These kinds of unusual factors in a picture can really make your photo stand out .
Let’s review what we’ve covered, shall we? What makes a photo a real standout drawing a person to look at it?
Let’s review what we’ve covered, shall we? What makes a photo a real standout drawing a person to look at it? The takeaways from our time together are, interesting and eye-catching photographs are those that have Interesting subjects that are Well lit and properly illuminated and that Fill the frame.
This concludes our overview of the components of eye-catching photographs. Thanks and happy shooting.
Pecha kucha photography presentation
Facilitation Exercise<br />Snapshots:<br />Eyecatchers… or Not.<br />Dave Norris<br />