Brief: This exercise is about depth in the frame. Now you understand depth of field you can use deep focus to photograph a figure in an environment, combining portrait with landscape and emphasising the sense of space. Choose an interesting environment and think about the kinds of clothes your model should wear. If it’s a bright place like a beach, it would be good if the model wore dark clothes. If it’s a dark place like a forest, choose light clothes. The contrast in tone or colour will help the model stand out against the background. Aim to shoot a conclusive series of full-length and head-and-shoulders portraits using a foreground figure or face in front of a background scene plus a foreground space with a figure in the distance – with both areas in focus. If you have a DSLR, the lens may have distance increments that indicate the DoF in feet and metres; this will help you place focus. Place the figure in the edges and corners of the frame as well as in the centre and on the four points of the ‘golden section’. Be careful with your compositions, considering the shapes and lines in the background and how they interact with your model.
Currently I am not in a position to use a model for this exercise, so I have chosen a few photos that I have taken over the past year. None of these are good photos, they are practice shots that have been a part of developing my technique. These don’t fit the brief fully. The depth of field is poor. I will go out and complete the exercise without a model, because I would like the benefit of continued practice.
I prefer the second photo here, there is a sense of movement, the framing of the scene highlights the narrow lane and closely knit buildings. There is no intimacy in any of these photos, no connection with the people in them.
This series is more useful for my learning. Having been shot at the same location, with a slight perspective change, and having the lighthouse in each photo, means that I can gain more of an insight into how composition alters the understanding of a photo. There is nothing to be gained from the first photo. The couple are too far to the left, and too distant, and there are no points of interest. The lighthouse is left stranded and is rendered as a non interesting object.The second photo has more value. there may not be much of a story, but it is clear that we have a couple going for a coastal walk on a cold day. Their positioning on one of the golden sections and the light house on a third compliment each other. The fog horn in the centre is a distraction and yet it works. It creates a line between the couple and the lighthouse so my eye moves back and forward between them. The lighthouse is now part of the subject, and because of this its beauty can be appreciated. I find the third photo more pleasing though. The lighthouse is dominant and is a symbol of strength and importance, which reflects its former significance. There is more intimacy between my view and the fisherman than there is with the couple in the previous photo. Maybe it’s because I used to fish, or maybe its because he keeps the image maritime. The point of interest for me though is that a photographer can still create intimace between the viewer and the image even with a person far in the distance. The couple are important in the previous photo, but there is no intimacy there, no connection.
In this final photo the group of people are prominent, the head of the man being pointed at is in the golden area, his bike is in the centre of the frame. The viewer has more of an emotional understanding of and connection to this image. It raises a question for me, is this an argument? Is the pointer angry? What has happened on their journey? Is the car a distraction? Who cares. The photo isn’t a promotional photo of a motorbike, it’s the story of these three men and the questions that they raise.