Thursday, 20 June 2013

FORMAT - manipulation within the camera

There''s a whole breed of Gen Xs and Gen Ys who believe photographic manipulation started with the introduction of Photoshop in 1990.

Landscape mode makes an environmental portrait
I have news for Xs and Ys - Photographic manipulation started 187 years ago when Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the world's first photograph.

Portrait mode
Changing the camera height or angle alter the image. Change the lens and you alter the image again; swap the type of emulsion (film) you are using and the appearance changes dramatically. After the image was taken, if you changed developer strengths, chemistry, temperature and time you produced a wondrous array of results. We've have been manipulating images a long, long time.

'Russian' tilt for vitality
One of the simplest ways to change an image is to alter the format you are using. That is the length and breadth. It may seem too simple but it has a dramatic effect on the perception the viewer has of the subject.
3:2 standard 35mm film aspect ratio
4:3 TV format
2:1 Panorama
3:1 Super Pano
1:1 Square or Hasselblad format

 Panorama is preferred by many landscape aficionados. While the 1:1 is often the choice of high end portrait photographers.

Square format for universality and class
When you take a photograph of a person holding the camera vertically (portrait format) you are recording a typical head and shoulders portrait (like your passport). But, tip the camera on its side, and low and behold you now have an environmental portrait where the background is part of the narrative; a story telling mode!

Landscape photographers traditionally prefer landscape format and wide-angle lenses but using a vertical (portrait) format may suit the subject better and may also break the predictability of your shots. (less boring!)

Then, there's the 'Russian' tilt. This is where you tilt the portrait format 10-15 degrees to give the person some oomph! I tend to use it with teenagers and young business people but we could all do with a dose of oomph once in a while.
3:1 Panorama for classic landscapes

If you have a great portrait and would like to be in with a chance to win $10,000 in cash and prizes enter the prestigious Fremantle International Portrait Award. Entries close on 8 July 2013.

Or, if you would like three days of pleasurable torture in my Portraits - Memories Forever Workshop at the University of Western Australia Extension commencing 6 July, click HERE.

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