The Doug Plus Rox Photography Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

Using Lines and Curves to Compose your Images

Lines are everywhere. The edges of buildings are vertical lines and the horizon is a horizontal line. You also find diagonal lines in nature and as part of man-made objects. Lines can be used as visual arrows to direct your viewer to a specific part of the image.

Diagonal lines pack more visual punch than vertical or horizontal lines. Place a diagonal line in the corner of the image that directs your viewer’s eye to an obvious focal point. Sometimes you can use diagonal lines in conjunction with vertical lines. For example, diagonal shadows from trees lead your viewer’s eye to the tree trunks, which are vertical lines.

Curves are also powerful elements. An S-curve can be used lead your viewer through an image. You find graceful curves everywhere; on forest paths, on the spine of a mountain range or the graceful arc a heron’s neck. Use curves as serpentine paths to draw your viewers to the focal point of your image. Place the focal point on a power point according to the Rule of Thirds and compose the image so that the curve leads your viewer to the focal point.

 


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Composing your Images with Color

Color can also be used to compose your images. We’re drawn to warm colors like reds, yellows and oranges before we recognize cool colors like blues, cyans, and greens. When you compose an image, recognize the colors and notice where they are in the frame. Then compose the image using the colors to lead your viewer’s eye where you want it to go. Bright colors serve as focal points in your image and direct your viewer through the image. The warm colors are visual clues to the mood you’re conveying. Position objects with warm colors on power points according to the Rule of Thirds. Position the cooler colors at the edge of the frame to act as a natural vignette.
Color is also a powerful tool when you want to convey a mood. An image with predominantly red and black colors portrays power and mystery. An image with greens and blues conveys a tranquil mood.
Tip
Avoid conflict. If your center of interest is a subject that is dark or has a cool color, avoid having bright or warmly colored objects in the frame as your viewer’s attention will be drawn to these objects and not your focal point.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Composing your Images with Light

When you compose an image, you often deal with a subject matter that has a range of brightness from dark shadows to bright white highlights. Shadow and light are important elements when composing an image. A shadow occurs when an object blocks a light source. Viewers are attracted to bright areas before they notice the shadows. You can use this to your advantage when composing an image. For example, when photographing a sunset, the sun is the brightest object in the image, and a focal point as well. Using the Rule of Thirds, position the sun on a power point to draw your viewers’ attention to that part of the scene.
Warning
If you have bright areas at the edge of the frame, you give your viewer an escape route out of the photograph. When you compose your images, place dark objects at the edge of the image to act as a natural frame to keep your viewer in the image.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Composing Images using the Rule of Thirds

Undoubtedly you’ve seen lots of images where the focal point was placed in the center of the frame. Picture a lone tree in a vast meadow. If you photograph the scene with the tree in the center of the frame, you’ve created a snapshot, a visual document of the scene. Now picture the same image with the tree moved to one side of the frame and you have an artistically composed image. Viewers know you photographed a tree in a meadow, not a meadow with a lone tree. The tree is the visual anchor to which the viewers’ attention is drawn. The great photographers have composed images in this manner since the beginning of photography. Of course they probably got the idea from studying the work of great painters.
The Rule of Thirds divides the frame into three sections vertically and horizontally. A power point is where the borders of two sections intersect. If you place your center of interest on a power point, the image has more visual impact. Some digital cameras have a grid you can superimpose on the viewfinder that divides the frame according to the Rule of Thirds. When you compose an image using the Rule of Thirds, tilt the Lensbaby to move the Sweet Spot of Focus to the power point that intersects with the focal point of the scene or subject you’re photographing. The image at the beginning of this section is composed according to the Rule of Thirds. I’ve included a grid overlay for reference.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Composing Your Images

When you see a scene or subject that piques your curiosity, there’s usually more information than you’d care to include in a picture. Nature is a prime example. Forests are a big green visual mass of trees separated by paths and the occasional splash of color. Mountain ranges contain miles of craggy peaks that look very similar. What looks absolutely stunning to the naked eye becomes visual chaos when you put the camera to your eye. There’s just too much visual information for viewers to assimilate. Your job is to bring order to the visual chaos by carefully observing what’s in the viewfinder and then deciding how you’ll compose the scene into a meaningful image that conveys a mood or tells a story. The following sections discuss rules of composition you can use to create interesting images. As you become a better photographer, you’ll instinctively compose images based on your style, artistic vision, and rules of composition. You can use more than one rule of composition when you create a photograph. But of course rules are meant to be broken and I show you how to do that as well.

In the next few posts on this blog, I’ll discuss the rules of composition and how I use them.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Don’t Rush

Become a Better Photographer by Slowing Down

When you find an interesting area, pick the low hanging fruit first and then stretch your personal envelope. Find an interesting way to photograph what you see before you in a way you’ve never photographed subject matter like this before. Who knows, you may create a unique photograph that nobody has ever taken before.

 


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

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