Photography podcast transcript 1 —

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‚Please note that this is an audio tran­scrip­tion. Gram­mer and punc­tu­a­tion will not be per­fect. ‚
‚Hi there and wel­come to the very first pod­cast com­ing to you from Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada.‚ My name is Marko and I am the admin and owner of‚ 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 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, 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 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 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‚ 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.
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  1. […] men­tioned in this pod­cast: Tran­script to pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #1 — being aware of the back­ground His­tograms in digital […]

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