‚Please note that this is an audio transcription. Grammer and punctuation will not be perfect. ‚
‚Hi there and welcome to the very first Photography.ca podcast coming to you from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.‚ My name is Marko and I am the admin and owner of Photography.ca.‚ For this, our very first podcast, it is going to be a little different than future podcasts.‚ I am just going to tell you a little bit about my experience and I am also going to shoot a little tip your way in order to hopefully make your photography a bit better.
So, first, a little bit about me.‚ I have a BA in Psychology as so many people do and many photographers yourselves.‚ I have also studied photography for two and a half years at the Dawson Institute of Photography here in Montreal.‚ Once I graduated, I started doing a lot of freelance, so I do have really a fair amount of photography experience.‚ I have shot many, many different types of photography, but my main love is really portraits.‚ I love a good portrait and I have shot them in many different ways.‚ I have shot weddings, I have shot pregnancies, I have shot cats and dogs.‚ As long as it has a face, I am all over it with my camera, that is.‚ Aside from that, I also have a pretty good feel for alternative photo techniques especially when it involves portraiture from hand coloring, which is also known as hand painting, to infrared to SX-70 manipulation, though I am not even sure if they are making that film anymore, though you can still do so many of these techniques in a digital way, but even if we are going the digital way, most of us, all the basic photography rules still apply.‚ So, enough about me and on to something a little more interesting.
Today, I just wanted to talk about the background and by background I do not mean the actual background that a photographer rolls on a stand and places a model behind, although that could apply, but in this case I am really talking about what is going on in the background when you take a picture.‚ I have actually written an article on Photography.ca about what is going on in the background and trying to be aware of what is going on in the background.‚ If you go to the site, Photography.ca that is, and you click on the articles, tips and links link, you will find that article there called Backgrounds, but for right now and for those who are not really interested in doing any surfing and they are only interested in listening, you really have to pay attention to what is going on in the background.‚ Most novices just do not look what is going on in the background and even advanced amateurs and sometimes pros, they spend all their time focusing on what is going on in the foreground without ever really looking what is going on in the background and that is really a huge mistake.‚ Please excuse the little bit of sniffling as it is allergy that I must suffer, but I will try to do my best to control it.‚ Okay, back to the backgrounds.‚ You really have to notice what is going because you could be taking a really beautiful picture, a portrait or a landscape or anything, but if you are not aware of what is going on behind it, you can really wreck the photo.‚ You really want to make sure that the foreground subject is not being marred by what is going on in the background and the only way to do this is to really pay attention.
So, for instance, if you are taking a portrait of someone and in the background, there is like a light fixture.‚ They are in the house, you are taking a portrait of them and there is a light fixture right behind their head, well, we see the world in 3D, right, but a photo is actually 2D.‚ So, what happens when it gets compressed, the 2D, when you get it back from the lab or print yourself is that the fixture is going to look like a hat if it is over his head or her head, that is.‚ What you want to do is you do not want to put a fixture, a light fixture or something hanging from the wall right behind their head.‚ You want to move them, so that that element is not distracting.‚ Likewise outdoors, if you are shooting someone, when you see some trash or telephone wires or telephone poles, you do not want to put those elements right behind them if possible.‚ Now, some people might say right away, “Oh, but what if that’s part of my image?”‚ Well, if that is part of your image and you thought about it and it is an environmental portrait and you want to shoot a punk rocker, let us say, in a really messed up or dirty looking or grungy environment, then yes, by all means.‚ Not that it does not matter, but it matters less what is going on because the background will add to the shot, but if we are doing just a regular shot and we do not want the background to distract from what we are shooting, well then we really have to be aware of that.
A good technique on how to be aware of it is to really look through your viewfinder and picture the whole viewfinder as a clock.‚ Check what is going on at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, etc.‚ What is going on there?‚ What elements do you see that are detracting from the main subject and can you reposition that main subject so that it is less intrusive, less distracting?‚ Usually, the answer is yes and when you do have that ability, I highly encourage you to do so.‚ Sometimes just moving the subject or making them move two or three inches to the right or left or you, as the photographer, just changing your angle slightly, sometimes that really makes a huge difference in the impact of the shot and these days since so many of us are shooting digital anyway.‚ Let us say you do happen to capture something in the background, well then using Photoshop or any other imaging software, it might just be a smart thing to remove that element from the background.‚ Oh, I could see the purists going bananas now saying, “Oh, but it’s not a real photo,” and you know what, that is a whole other conversation for another time and maybe we will do a podcast on that as well.‚ For now, I guess I just wanted to put into your mind that you really have to be aware of what is going on in the background and remove distracting element.
Another way to really limit the distracting elements that go on in the background is often through use of depth of field.‚ I do not want this podcast to be about depth of field and there is quite a bit of info on it already on Photography.ca and many other websites, so if you just want to go to the article section or tips and links section on this site, you could probably read up on depth of field and that will really help you.‚ It is up to the photographer to choose what depth of field they want to use per shot and very simply, depth of field means or refers to how sharp the foreground is relative to the background.‚ Large depths of field will make the background more blurry and smaller depths of field will make the background more sharp.‚ For portraits, I usually choose a larger depth of field because that allows me to isolate my subject, my main subject from the background and by having the background slightly blurred, it becomes less distracting.‚ This is really a good technique to use, so I highly recommend it.‚ So, again, I really do not want to get into exactly what depth of field is because we could do just a whole podcast on depth of field easily, but just read up on it a little bit and know that it can be controlled and it can be used to solve a lot of these common problems.
You know what, that about does it for our first podcast.‚ I thank you so much for coming and listening.‚ I really hope you do give input.‚ There is going to be a new section in the bulletin board on Photography.ca and if you are a member, you could just join and give comments, which would be so useful.‚ I will also post some show notes and things of that nature on the bulletin board on Photography.ca.‚ So, if you are not already a member, please come and join our bulletin board.‚ You can post some of your photos for critiques and of course you can give critiques on this podcast as well.‚ So, thanks again for listening everyone and we will be sure and put up a new podcast shortly.‚ Bye for now and happy shooting.
Photography podcast transcript 1 — Photography.ca