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.

Leonard Cohen Portrait

A cou­ple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet the Poet/Singer/Songwriter Leonard Cohen in Sague­nay Que­bec. I have always been an enor­mous fan and rarely does a week go by when I don’t lis­ten to one of his truly great songs. Although we only spent a few pre­cious min­utes with him, he was gra­cious enough to allow us to take a few shots. This shot was my favourite of the few shots we took.

It was a hot sunny cloud­less day and the sun was still fairly high which meant I had to be on the look­out for shad­ows in the face. I there­fore set my flash to minus 2 which would fill in the poten­tial shad­ows. This shot was orig­i­nally processed in colour and I really like how it turned out (maybe I’ll post the colour ver­sion some­time). How­ever there is some­thing time­less and mys­te­ri­ous about Mr. Cohen’s music and I knew when I took the image that I’d likely process it in black and white. Also, his suit and hat were just scream­ing to be pho­tographed in black and white.

I’d like to thank Leonard Cohen (and his UNBELIEVABLE ensem­ble of musi­cians) for the fan­tas­tic con­cert where he received at least 15 stand­ing ova­tions, and for allow­ing me the plea­sure to take a few shots. My only regret is that my wife (who is equally an enor­mous fan) wasn’t there to meet him with me. She was rest­ing at the hotel since she was tired from the 5 hour drive from Montreal.