Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The meaning behind your image - Hamish Scott-Brown gives us his Top Tips

Our talented photography tutor, Hamish Scott-Brown, believes in the story behind an image - here he gives some tips on how to deliver emotion and significance in your pictures....

Lighthouse in Gallipoli


As a photographer you are the creator of a visual image that will tell a story. Stories are narratives, some complex and some less so, that have a beginning, middle and end. A 'photograph' is a slice of time. It is not just a meaningless image of something, it should also be an image about something and it's a key skill to think about this before, during and after the shutter has clicked.

Before: Try to look beyond the 'instantly appealing' the banal or the imitation pastiche of subjects, and seek out a subject matter that will offer your viewer an opportunity to ask questions. The examples here show buildings and abandonment. What lies beyond what we see on the outside is the beauty within and what may have taken place there previously - the photo offers a retrospective view and a gaze into the past. What lurks in the shadows and what do they tell us about an event now past?

Try not to overlook the shadows in any picture situation as 'shadow' area conceals, in many cases, evidence that can be easily overlooked through dark exposures.

During: As a rule, you may want to explore the use of underexposure to create a darkera nd more moody feel. Use wideanle or super-wide lenses to create a voyeuristic feel with maximum depth of field to reindorce the context of the location. Accentuate details such as the dusty, open pages of an unread book or furniture as it may appear after someone has made a hurried departure. Don't be afraid to leave unanswered questions as powerful elements of the iamge that will hold the viewer's attention.

The open pages of a dusty book in Romania

After: With multiple layering and layer blending in Photoshop, you can use curves to draw out and exaggerate the highlights and shadows. The digital era has given photographers the opportunity to explore previously unseen light through the introduction of HDR and high ISO. Here's something to try. Create different versions of the same images, and then, using the snapshot and history tools in your editing software, blend and fuse different stages of your processing history into a single visual file.

Hamish's Top Tips:

  • Look beyond that which you can see in front of you.
  • Research suitable locations that will give you opportunities to explore traces of the past.
  • Use wideangle lenses to define context and telephoto lenses to isolate details.
  • Shoot in Raw to maximise dynamic range and details
  • Experiment with different exposures to emphasise, highlight or shadow areas and later blend in post-processing.
  • Think about latent emotions within the image that you are trying to convey to the viewer, sadness, anger, fear, happiness, belonging and love are just a few and can all be depicted by careful handling of light and shadow.
  • Consider the best time of day for the right quality of light, will the scene benefit from directional light of non-directional light?
  • Be sure to seek permission before entering a location and leave the location as you found it.
For more information about Hamish and our range of photography holidays, follow this link:
www.authenticadventures.co.uk/photography-holidays All of our photography holidays are ideal for beginners, amateurs or more confident photographers - you will receive lots of one to one tuition.

Hamish will be leading groups to the island of Harris in the Hebrides, Shimla in the Himalayas and Puglia in Southern Italy. He is available to talk to on the telephone about any of the trips - you can discuss ability, equipment and location.

A beach scene in Puglia