99 — Controlling brightness in photography

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #99 dis­cusses how to con­trol bright­ness in your images. Our eye tends to fol­low or rest upon bright objects in a pho­to­graph and very often these objects or ele­ments are not the focal point of the image thus caus­ing our eyes to wander.

Con­trol­ling the brighter ele­ments in a scene takes some plan­ning dur­ing shoot­ing, and some work in post-processing but ulti­mately your images will be stronger. You’ll also have way more con­trol over the final image where you the cre­ator of the image guide the viewer’s eye purposefully.

Bright­ness is well con­trolled in this image. Along with com­po­si­tional curves, part of what makes this image work is that other bright ele­ments in the scene are not com­pet­ing with the bride. All eyes are on her as she makes her entrance. Image by Dominic Fuizzotto

Image by Richard Sparey — This lovely image of deli­cious pears suf­fers slightly from what I call weak edges. This causes our eye to wan­der out of the frame. It’s more notice­able on printed white paper or on a pure white background.

The same image with the edges burnt in (dark­ened) quite a bit to show the effect. This helps keep our eyes from wan­der­ing. Thanks to Richard for allow­ing me to use this image.

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
– August’s reg­u­lar assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — Num­bers — Pho­to­graph some­thing with a num­ber
– August’s level 2 assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum — Cre­at­ing coun­ter­points
– Bright­ness prob­lems and dis­tract­ing ele­ments — Pod­cast #44
– Neu­tral den­sity fil­ters and grad­u­ated ND fil­ters — Inter­view with Dar­win Wiggett —  Pod­cast #77
– Dominic Fuiz­zotto Pho­tog­ra­phy
– Richard Sparey Photography

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Brightness problems — distracting elements in photographs — Photography podcast #46

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #46 talks about being really care­ful about NOT includ­ing dis­tract­ing ele­ments in your pho­tographs. The eye nat­u­rally wan­ders toward the bright ele­ments in pho­tographs so being aware of bright­ness prob­lems, unwanted high­lights and other dis­trac­tions will improve your photography.

Links men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Tran­script to pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #1 — being aware of the back­ground
His­tograms in dig­i­tal photography

The 2 images below show how bright­ness issues and dis­tract­ing ele­ments can take the viewer’s eye away from the sub­ject. Shot 1 is unma­nip­u­lated. Shot 2 has the brighter ele­ments burned in (dark­ened) very quickly just to illus­trate the point. Many thanks to mer­man from our pho­tog­ra­phy forum for allow­ing me to use his pho­to­graph as a teach­ing tool.

brightness problem in photographs

brightness problem corrected in photograph

Thanks as always to Cyba­sumo, Chris, Sergey and De3montecarlo for recent com­ments and sug­ges­tions. We LOVE com­ments and sug­ges­tions so please send more.

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.