Distortions of the same image explore aspect ratio expressively

The proportion of an image’s frame is a fundamental part of its statement.

Unlike many documentary photographers who keep the proportion of their image frames constant to reduce their presence and suggest that their images haven’t been altered, I do the opposite for precisely the opposite reason, to more clearly highlight that my images have been altered by me. The question of whether an image has or has not been altered is a misleading question. Every image, whether documentary or artistic, has been altered, but to different degrees, in different ways, and for different reasons. Questions of method, extent, and intent are more revealing and interesting.

I use the proportion of the frame expressively. Because different proportions each add something different, I don’t standardize, I customize the proportions of my images. I distort the frame, crop the frame, and/or extend the frame through compositing and sometimes retouching, before settling on a final solution that creates the strongest statement.

How do you use aspect ratio in your images?

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“Any “object” that needs the ability to adjust size and rotation without the normal limitations of layered images is an excellent candidate for Smart Objects … When doing a traditional multilayer composite, the resizing and rotation of a layer can cause image degradation. Positioning and sizing an object has to be a precise operation because if you use Free Transform to make a layer smaller and then find out you actually need it back at the original size (or bigger), you basically have to start over. The way to deal with this situation when doing a complex composite is to make those layers into Smart Objects. Smart Objects are embedded image objects that allow resizing, rotation and other select editing without changing the pixels in the object. The image layers are actually treated as a separate file embedded within the master file. You can’t do all editing on the Smart Object, but you can open the original layers as a temporary file and do pixel-level editing there and then save the changes back into the Smart Object; the changes will auto-update in the image in which the objects are embedded.” – Jeff Schewe

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Blend It Out

January 5, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

It’s a perfect shot! If only those unwanted moving objects (UMOs, i.e., a person or a crowd) in the scene would disappear. As long as the unwanted elements in your frame move, even just a little, you can make them disappear from your image by taking two or more shots and using Photoshop’s layering and blending capabilities.

You don’t have to retouch your image. Blending is different than retouching. The unwanted elements aren’t covered over with new information by hiding them with replacement information similar to the surround, either from the same source or another. With blends, the information behind the moving subject is revealed. How? It’s contained in the other shot(s).

You even can do this with exposures that are made with slightly different angles of rotation or framing, so you can use this technique with handheld exposures, not just those made with a tripod. Camera motion may make manual registration difficult, but Photoshop automatically will align and, in some cases, distort the separate exposures so that they register precisely …

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Crop or Retouch ?

December 22, 2010 | Leave a Comment |



As visual communicators, we’re responsible for everything that’s in the frame; we’re also responsible for everything that’s not in the frame. Deciding what’s in the frame and what’s out is a critical decision that can make or break an image. Here are two essential framing strategies.

1.?Use the frame to eliminate distracting information around a subject.

Take extra care with image information that touches the frame, as it will draw extra attention. Do this with significant compositional elements.

2.?Eliminate space around a subject to focus a viewer’s attention.

A lot of space between the subject and the frame can be used to call on psychological associations with space, such as freedom or isolation. Some space between the subject and the frame can give the appearance of the subject resting gracefully within the frame. Touching the subject with the frame strongly focuses the attention of the viewer and may seem claustrophobic. Cropping the subject with the frame can focus the attention of the viewer on specific aspects of the subject and/or give an image a tense quality, evoking evasion and incompleteness—this often seems accidental if less than half the subject is revealed.

There’s more than one way to apply these strategies. While cropping techniques are simple to practice, the reasons for their application and the choices made about how to apply them, as well as the final effects, may be exceptionally complex. You have two choices ..

1. Reposition the frame before exposure.

2. Contract the position of the borders of an image after exposure

If you plan to retouch, you’ll frame and crop differently …

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noise-capture

Noise comes in three types or patterns:
1) Random noise 2) Fixed-pattern noise 3) Banding noise

Noise often has two components—brightness and color:
4) Image noise 5) Luminance noise 6) Chrominance noise

Knowing the type and kind of noise produced will help guide you to solutions to reduce it. There are three types of noise: random noise, fixed-pattern noise and banding noise.


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Layering Noise

June 15, 2009 | Leave a Comment |


Here's an excerpt from my column in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.

"When adding noise to digital files, keep noise separate from the image so you can control both independently of one another. This way you've got extraordinary control and flexibility. When noise is placed on its own layer you can eliminate or change it at any time in the future, reduce its opacity, localize it, desaturate it, target it into specific channels, move it, scale it, blur it and much more ..."

Read more in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.
Learn out more in my digital printing workshops.


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