Nikon Know-how

In this is­sue, Michael Free­man shows how to cap­ture the in­tan­gi­bles that make im­ages at­mo­spheric

NPhoto - - Contents -

Cre­at­ing a spe­cific mood in a photo is a com­plex process, in­volv­ing all sorts of vari­ables. Michael Free­man dis­cusses the colours, light­ing and com­po­si­tions that can give an im­age a par­tic­u­lar at­mos­phere, from upbeat and cheery, to cool and calm, to wist­ful or melan­choly

Pho­tog­ra­phy isn’t al­ways about vis­ual com­po­nents alone.

While light, colour, mo­ment and so on are all im­por­tant, and can of­ten be enough of a rea­son to shoot in their own right – just think of a shaft of sun­light break­ing through storm clouds and il­lu­mi­nat­ing a key el­e­ment in a land­scape – they are by no means the only con­sid­er­a­tions. Un­der­ly­ing such sur­face de­tails in a pic­ture, there may be other things hap­pen­ing that work on the emo­tions of the viewer rather than the op­ti­cal senses. Even with­out putting it into words, when we pho­to­graph, say, a land­scape, we’re eas­ily drawn to what most peo­ple would call a cer­tain at­mos­phere, or mood. That shaft of light, or an un­usual and brief com­bi­na­tion of sun­light and clouds, for in­stance, might con­vey a sense of drama or even fore­bod­ing. Equally, a light morn­ing mist over fields back­lit at sun­rise might evoke a mood of peace and tran­quil­lity. Of course, moods may be harder to pin down and de­fine than vis­ual ef­fects, but that doesn’t make them any less po­tent. You could think of them as adding an­other layer of mean­ing to your pho­tog­ra­phy. Search­ing for mood with an idea of how to en­hance it and com­mu­ni­cate it ef­fec­tively can be an­other, deeper, pho­to­graphic tool for you to use.

Nor is mood con­fined to land­scapes, even though that is prob­a­bly the most ob­vi­ous genre to ben­e­fit from it. Por­trai­ture very of­ten makes use of mood: sub­tle changes of ex­pres­sion and ges­ture can make a ma­jor dif­fer­ence to what the sub­ject ap­pears to be feel­ing (stress on the word ‘ap­pears’, be­cause hu­man beings are com­pli­cated and don’t al­ways show feel­ings ob­vi­ously). Good por­trai­ture, whether planned or im­promptu, en­gages the viewer into think­ing about what is go­ing on be­hind the eyes and the face, and of­ten it’s a mat­ter of mood.

The com­bi­na­tion of brood­ing clouds and a sin­gle low shaft of sun­light just af­ter dawn is fleet­ing when it hap­pens, but rarely fails to cre­ate a strong mood – in this case turn­ing an oth­er­wise nor­mal view of Cader Idris in Wales into some­thing much more dra­matic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.