This article is part of my series on the study of ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ by Micheal Freeman.
This concludes the Frames section of our study on Visualization. We will complete another exercise to pull all of these concepts together and then beginning with the next article move into Design Basics. This will include topics such as Contrast, Balance, Dynamic Tension, Rhythm, Patterns, Textures, Perspective and Visual Weight.
Wrap Up Exercises
We have discussed the different sizes of the Frame and how that impacts what can be shown in an image. We also discussed the beginnings of placing a subject within that Frame before we moved on to three ways to divide the Frame. The first was Linear Division which kept things balanced and simple, but gave us a method for beginning to move the subject around the Frame.
Then we moved on to the Golden Ratio which artists have used for centuries to create paintings which are hanging in world wide art galleries. Finally, we took the concept of the Golden Ratio and further divided the Frame using a mathematical series. Each of these methods provides a way to proportionalize the subject matter into a fixed Frame size.
As a wrap-up exercise for dividing the Frame, try out your newly developed instincts. Find three subjects that remain fairly still. People can be used, but try people sitting, standing or lying down. Moving people will add a new level of challenge to this exercise and if you are up to that challenge, give it a second go around. For now, try fairly stationary subjects.
For each subject, bring a countdown timer with an alarm. Get your photography gear ready with film or digital cards. Take light meter readings and set your exposure values. For this exercise we will use only one lens, unless you are using a zoom lens in which case you can zoom throughout the work.
When you are ready, start your timer with a two minute countdown. Take two minutes without taking a single shot. Study the subject from various angles. Notice the background, the lighting and the other objects. When the two minutes are completed, set the timer for one more minute. Take photographs for a minute. Take as many as you can, but try to take between 15 and 20 images. Don’t think, just shoot. Do this for all three subjects and then study your images, but not until all three subjects have been completed.
Study images for use of the Linear division, Golden Ratio and Fibonacci divisions. Print out one or two from each division type for each image. Overlay the division on the image using a colored pen or pencil and a ruler. Make notes and file in your scrapbook.
If you don’t have any that follow the divisions, repeat the process and spend your two minutes studying the image with the three divisions in mind. Use your tranparencies as a visual que for your brain, but avoid holding them up to use to frame the subjects.
The key for this exercise is beginning to shoot these divisions without using a visual aid. Try to shoot by instinctive measures rather than using a cropping tool. Let your brain crop the image.
As we go through the remaining articles, build upon what you are learning and see if your divisions become more instinctive. The only way this will happen is to practice shooing spontaneously and then studying the results to see of you got the divisions worked out. Simply shooting more volume without critical review will not help.
Other People’s Opinions
Now is also the time to begin soliciting opinions of others. Family and friends are ok, but only if they flat out tell you they don’t like some of your images. Family and friend tendencies are to be much nicer to your images than you deserve. Try using some collegues and other photographers or members of your local photography club.
You can post comments here with links to your images and invite others to review them as well.
Happy shooting! We will begin the next series in a week or so.