Yes, I timed it . . .
If some guy promised that you could make your pictures fifty percent more beautiful and interesting by investing just one or two more minutes before shooting, would you believe him or would you be tempted to write him off as just another hype-selling charlatan, like that “AB-ERCISER” dude who was yelling at you from your tv late last night when he awakened you from your couch-surfing slumber?
The light at my back door was like warm honey this morning, tasty enough that I just knew I needed to snap a picture of it’s glowing effect on one of my favorite garden pots. But you know, as beautiful as it was, it was not nearly stunning enough to overcome the visual distractions of the barbecue grill in the background, or the spent-bloom clutter on the deck, beneath it.
OHHH NOES, WHAT IS A FELLA TO DO?
Well first off, sonny boy, move that dang grill with that long-nosed, red lighter sitting on it out of your shot. It adds nothing but clutter and distraction, pulling your eye up and away from the true object of your visual desire. That’s why they put wheels on the bottom of the thing, silly. Then, grab a broom and sweep those fallen flowers off the deck. Now seriously, was that so hard?
What’s that you say? What about those wet stains from where the smaller pots were? Well, put one of ‘em back to fill the visual hole in the lower right and then just plan on cropping up from the bottom and down from the top to make your photo a square composition. It doesn’t matter if your camera doesn’t shoot squares automatically. Just try to pre-visualize it, knowing that you’re going to crop it before you show anyone. That will get rid of the cluttered look at the base, and it will eliminate a bunch of that cream colored trim board at the top of the frame that keeps drawing your eye upward to it without rewarding you for the effort.
You can see the difference, right?
Two minutes. I timed myself. Two minutes to stop and think, to roll the barbecue out of frame, sweep the deck around the pot and move just one little pot back into the frame at the lower right. And then, OK, maybe another two minutes while prepping this blog post to figure out the crop and add that delicious, offsetting, golden hairline and the dark frame around the image (top photo). You wrap birthday gifts, don’t you? Makes them seem just a bit more special. Adds a bit more ‘oomph’ to what you’re offering. Well, if you’re not already framing your pictures before you show them to us, have you ever considered asking yourself why not?
I’ll post up a lesson on how to do that, soon.