2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 4: Rule of Thirds / Toys & Games

I’m very excited to join the PhotoChallenge team! My theme for this year is “Composition and Technique”, which will focus on some of the fundamentals of photography. I hope that the challenges will be enjoyable for beginners and advanced photographers alike. To that end, if anyone has any suggestions or feedback, I’m happy to listen!

This week’s topic is the Rule of Thirds. In a nutshell, the Rule of Thirds suggests that you should place your subject off-center (approximately 1/3 from any corner or edge), which results in a balanced, pleasing composition. Let’s dive in to some examples:

crop_coffeeSteaming Coffee – Eric Minbiole

The images above show the same subject, with two different compositions: The upper image has the coffee cup in the center of the image. Note that the composition seems a bit awkward– the steam is cut off on the top, and there’s too much empty space at the bottom. In contrast, the lower image follows the Rule of Thirds, and feels much more balanced: The steam has plenty of space to rise, and the overall image has a more pleasing composition.

Another benefit of the Rule of Thirds is that it can help clarify the subject, especially in case of a landscape shot:

crop_water

The upper image shows a centered horizon. While the water and the sky are both reasonably interesting, it’s hard to tell which is the intended subject of the photo, as both are given the same amount of space in the image. In contrast, the lower image better follows the Rule of Thirds, placing the horizon at the lower third of the image. This helps make it more clear that the sky and clouds are the main focus of the image, since they are given a larger portion (2/3) of the space.

crop_longwood

Longwood Home – Eric Minbiole

Certainly, the Rule of Thirds is not a hard and fast rule. Just like any rule of thumb, there are plenty of times that you can (and should) break it. However, it’s often a very good starting point when composing a subject, and is a technique that every photographer should at least be familiar with. As such, this week’s challenge is to create a photograph that follows the Rule of Thirds.

Optional Twist: Each week, I’ll add an optional twist to the challenge. As the name implies, these are completely optional, and are intended for those looking for a bit of extra difficulty. (Some twists may be harder than others.) This week’s twist is “Toys and Games” — feel free to interpret this in any creative way that you like. Regardless of whether or not you follow the twist, your composition should follow the Rule of Thirds.

Get your camera, and have fun!

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be an animated still image and not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2017 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 2: WE ARE WHAT WE EAT

They say we are what we eat, it’s time for you to show us what you’re made of. This is nothing new for the PhotoChallenge, back in 2010 we would have week long challenges that involved posting your food images on a daily basis. We’re not going to post all our food for an entire week but contrary to our regular challenges, you will be able to post up to three (3), yes THREE images this week.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

There’s a catch, they can’t be from the same meal. You can choose Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner or go the route of cool treats, desserts and your favorite bar drinks and eats.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

I encourage you to be creative while shooting your image and in post processing. Don’t settle for a snapshot. We’re creating a photograph, it doesn’t have to sell as appetizing, but eye pleasing art is a good start. Naturally one can stick to editorial and give us a lesson in traditional foods from around the world.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

Depth of field is important. Rule of thumb, keep your foreground subject crisp and in focus if you’re going to have a shallow depth of field.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

On the flip side, you may want to get your entire serving dish in focus. Don’t be afraid to experiment and assemble multiple images together to get an overview of an entire meal or a before and after. In the image above we have an out of the even to the serving plate photo.

Steve Troletti Editorial, Nature and Wildlife Photographer: FOOD &emdash;

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color filters, vignettes and borders. If you have to break the rules of photography to make your artistic vision a reality, then go for it 🙂

Theres a great deal of freedom in this challenge but please stay away from snapshots and apply yourself with composition, exposure and depth of field. Plan your shot and take multiple images at different angles. Food photography is an art in itself.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be an animated still image and not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

2013 Challenge, Week 5: Beverage

OK, I think we’re getting into the swing of things around here. We’ve covered a nice variety of themes so far, and I’m excited about where we’re going. It’s been quite nice to see all the new people joining us in the Google+ Community and the Facebook Group. Our numbers have been steadily growing each week since we relaunched. Welcome all you new peeps!

This week’s theme might feel a little generic, but trust me, it’s gonna be a great challenge for you. That’s assuming that you don’t simply snap a photo of one of your random beverages throughout your week, or worse, the last thing you drink next Saturday. 🙂

Café con leche - Milchkaffee (CC)
Café con leche – Milchkaffee, by Martin Fisch

We all drink some sort of beverage every day. Start by thinking about how you can spruce up something you’re already drinking. Maybe present tomorrow’s coffee a little nicer. How about pouring that beer into a a real beer glass? Just a small touch could help you present your final image more professionally, which gives you more satisfaction with your final effort.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Mirror Pond Pale Ale, by Michael Fajardo

This has the potential to tap into any existing macro photography skills as well. If you wanna show off, then go all out! Alternatively, you might consider some sort of additional prop, to help present your beverage, like someone’s hand, holding the beer below.

Cheers
Cheers, by david.eugene.

With some beverages, timing might be key. Pouring that awesome pint of Guinness, but shooting it 30 minutes later, you’ll end up with zero of that signature head at the top. So plan your shots accordingly. A bubbly drink will decrease it’s fiz over time. Just think ahead enough to have your gear set up, and maybe take a few test shots, to make sure you have all the settings just right.

Fizzy Purple Grape Soda
Fizzy Purple Grape Soda, by D. Sharon Pruitt

Let’s not forget that we’re posting just one single selection per theme, to our various online locations; Google+, Facebook, and/or Flickr. That’s one final photo, posted to the different places.

Also, please do not feel compelled to go back and shoot the themes you’ve missed, whether you got busy or just joined us. That ends up cluttering the various groups’ newsfeeds with past week’s posts, this week. By all means, challenge yourself! And if you want to go back and shoot the themes you missed, that’s fine. But post them on your blog and to your social media profiles. Help us keep the groups and communities focused each week on the appropriate theme.

If you tag your photos with metadata, please use “2013photochallenge”.

Now go shoot a beverage!