December 15, 2017, 03:05:16 PM

Author Topic: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?  (Read 4656 times)

YuengLinger

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Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« on: September 30, 2017, 08:16:59 PM »
Some photographers flourish with very shallow DoF, using it to isolate subjects and blur backgrounds into dreamy tones. One that comes to mind is Lisa Holloway:

http://ljhollowayphotography.com/

Others, such as Chris Crisman, want everything in focus, seeing each element within the frame as vital:

http://www.crismanphoto.com/

Which end of the DoF spectrum do you gravitate towards?

And, to stir things up, can a photographer become overly dependent on shallow DoF--to the point of compositional laziness? 

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Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« on: September 30, 2017, 08:16:59 PM »

CanonFanBoy

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 09:05:04 PM »
Well, I know which photographer I prefer of the two you linked: Holloway. Those photos look more real to me. The other looks over processed.

I lean to shallow depth of field for portraits, but I am far from being a pro.

I think composition is still important with shallow depth of field.
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takesome1

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 09:05:28 PM »
I gravatate both ways as I belive the situation requires.

The second question, compositional lazy? If it floats your boat to blur as much as possible away from your subject I would have never thought to call that lazy. A personal (perhaps artistic) choice, but not lazy.

takesome1

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2017, 09:10:59 PM »
Well, I know which photographer I prefer of the two you linked: Holloway. Those photos look more real to me. The other looks over processed.

I lean to shallow depth of field for portraits, but I am far from being a pro.

I think composition is still important with shallow depth of field.

You only have to see the third picture, of flying paper airplanes, to make that determination.

CanonFanBoy

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2017, 09:22:49 PM »
Well, I know which photographer I prefer of the two you linked: Holloway. Those photos look more real to me. The other looks over processed.

I lean to shallow depth of field for portraits, but I am far from being a pro.

I think composition is still important with shallow depth of field.

You only have to see the third picture, of flying paper airplanes, to make that determination.

Yup. She also looks to be photoshopped onto that bench. He probably has lots of fans though. People like what they like. He's not for me.
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stevelee

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2017, 10:57:14 PM »
"Lazy composer" hit home to me, in that I recently had the idea of composing 95 pieces for orchestra during October, as a sort of 500-year celebration. They would have been short, so the performance of the whole would have taken just a bit over a half hour, so it really is averaging just one minute of finish music a day. And then I thought, "Nah." I'm confident I could do it, and there is a chance the music might be interesting, but I'll have a lot going on and will be away some. But knowing me, I could suddenly decide about the 20th to plunge in. I obviously have mixed feelings about abandoning the project, if a title in a photo forum can make me feel a bit guilty.

But speaking to the real question, I do like to separate the subject from the background in portraits and the like, but only in moderation. Even if I did nothing weird, I still don't want it to look phony or call attention to itself. I do realize that an ilk of photographers will pay attention to the "bucket" (as Hyacinth and Richard spell it, and folks mispronounce the Japanese to approximate their pronunciation of their name) and ignore the subject, even when not in an inside baseball discussion.

OTOH, I do like landscapes with everything very sharp sometimes. And sometimes I want landscapes where there is still a dreamy quality. Likewise, I might not want a portrait overly sharp, in part because the subject can look pasted on top of the blurry background. And then there is the double standard for skin texture of a pretty young woman vs. an crusty old guy who has been out in the sun too much. For the former, I find a bit of negative clarity in ACR does just the right look a lot of times.

So I agree with the "it depends" answers, but I suspect I have a little less tolerance for extremes than many people seem to.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 11:02:43 PM »
The Depth of field I use depends on the subject.  For a group of people, I want them all in focus, so I go for DOF.  For a portrait where I want the subject to be separated from the background, I go for shallow DOF.

I do product photography, and generally, this calls for more depth of field than I can get in one shot.


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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 11:02:43 PM »

leGreve

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2017, 03:36:31 AM »
Some photographers flourish with very shallow DoF, using it to isolate subjects and blur backgrounds into dreamy tones. One that comes to mind is Lisa Holloway:

http://ljhollowayphotography.com/

Others, such as Chris Crisman, want everything in focus, seeing each element within the frame as vital:

http://www.crismanphoto.com/

Which end of the DoF spectrum do you gravitate towards?

And, to stir things up, can a photographer become overly dependent on shallow DoF--to the point of compositional laziness?

None of the two are better than the other... it's always an artistic choice that will suit different subjects.
A good photographer will wander between each type and choose that specific look depending on what the shot is trying to achieve.

Which is why trend photographers tend to be around only for a year or two because they can't evolve past that one look they had succes with.....

mb66energy

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2017, 06:07:27 AM »
Lisa Holloway:
She manages a great merging of sharp subject and blurred fore- and backgrounds. I think she composes with the blurred areas to support the subject in focus.
And she does it very carefully as far as I can say. "I feel I am there and can smell the vegetation."

Chris Crisman:
The deep field of sharp subjects needs proper composition too and therefore I think he does a similar great job. These images are atmospheric too but more in a sense of "I feel I am there and can see everything."

Both ways are o.k. for me and I try to use them for my little work - but I do fail very often and that is not due to equipment!
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IglooEater

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2017, 06:46:29 AM »
"Lazy composer" hit home to me, in that I recently had the idea of composing 95 pieces for orchestra during October, as a sort of 500-year celebration.

95 pieces for the 500th got a chuckle from me  ;D. You wouldn't  be planning on nailing them to a door anywhere would you?  ;)

cpsico

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2017, 08:40:01 AM »
Some photographers flourish with very shallow DoF, using it to isolate subjects and blur backgrounds into dreamy tones. One that comes to mind is Lisa Holloway:

http://ljhollowayphotography.com/

Others, such as Chris Crisman, want everything in focus, seeing each element within the frame as vital:

http://www.crismanphoto.com/

Which end of the DoF spectrum do you gravitate towards?

And, to stir things up, can a photographer become overly dependent on shallow DoF--to the point of compositional laziness?
They both are still composing there pictures, one focuses on subtle light and color with shallow depth of field. The other with integrating the subject and background. Both are completely composed in different ways

Pookie

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2017, 09:11:28 AM »
Lazy composition ?!?!?! Do you think any of these are just slapped together? Are you equating bokeh with poor composition because neither have anything to do with each other.

Does a lens that only shoots at f/64 make you any lazier than one that shoots at f/1? It's the kind of question that shows little understanding of photography in general. It's a trap that all newbies to photography fall into. The idea that a piece of equipment will either make or break your success in this field. Lenses fast or slow have no inherent qualities that dictate their absolute use. You don't have to shoot only at 1.2 with a 85mm, it's an artistic choice by the brain behind the camera as to how you will craft an image. Lenses, filters, camera bodies, processing software, etc... are all tools and if you don't know how to use them they won't produce a single image on their own.

A better question is do you prefer a razor sharp or buttery bokeh? The answers you'll receive will provide you a highly varied spectrum of possibilities and none are any more correct than the other. It would be like asking a thousand people which is better... vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Some will chocolate is the very best, other vanilla.... some will say neither, they are lactose intolerant and prefer frozen yogurt.
I'm limping by with my current equipment... once I get that new lens with IS and blue goo... then I'll finally be able to go out and take my first decent picture...

YuengLinger

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2017, 09:46:55 AM »
Lazy composition ?!?!?! Do you think any of these are just slapped together? Are you equating bokeh with poor composition because neither have anything to do with each other.

Does a lens that only shoots at f/64 make you any lazier than one that shoots at f/1? It's the kind of question that shows little understanding of photography in general. It's a trap that all newbies to photography fall into. The idea that a piece of equipment will either make or break your success in this field. Lenses fast or slow have no inherent qualities that dictate their absolute use. You don't have to shoot only at 1.2 with a 85mm, it's an artistic choice by the brain behind the camera as to how you will craft an image. Lenses, filters, camera bodies, processing software, etc... are all tools and if you don't know how to use them they won't produce a single image on their own.

A better question is do you prefer a razor sharp or buttery bokeh? The answers you'll receive will provide you a highly varied spectrum of possibilities and none are any more correct than the other. It would be like asking a thousand people which is better... vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Some will chocolate is the very best, other vanilla.... some will say neither, they are lactose intolerant and prefer frozen yogurt.

Clearly, all things being equal, more thought and planning is needed to make more elements work together harmoniously.  But some images and their subjects are best expressed with abstract backgrounds.  Holloway, for one, tends to manipulate her blurred backgrounds with Photoshop to achieve arched effects and other forms of symmetry, so of course compositional understanding is necessary.  She also removes hot spots and dark spots that might be distracting.

"Slapped together" is not a phrase that comes to mind, though "formulaic" may apply if a photographer is offering the same shot over and over (but with different subjects in the same setting and lighting).

George Hurrell is one of my favorite portrait photographers.  He often used very shallow DoF for his glamour shots, leaving only vague shadows or softened geometric shapes of props to suggest that a background had some realism--as opposed to a plain black or white backdrop.  (So his subjects weren't merely floating in "studio space.")

One might even say that great photographers use shadows and highlights as compositional elements, not just happy accidents of "good" lighting.

But constantly resorting to shallow DoF eliminates storytelling.  And it does, to me, sometimes feel like the easy way out during a portrait session.  I don't have to worry about how stadium-seating or trees or phone lines will be distracting.  But if a college grad wants her team's logo on the field, or her volleyball net, or her lab equipment, to help tell the story of her interests, then more careful and time consuming composition must come into play.

I wondered if other photographers sometimes become so reliant on the ability of fast primes to eliminate background "clutter" that they tend to use it too often and miss shots that might better serve the purpose of the subject.  I intended to start a discussion, not a riot!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 10:07:39 AM by YuengLinger »

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2017, 09:46:55 AM »

RunAndGun

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2017, 10:04:20 AM »
Some photographers flourish with very shallow DoF, using it to isolate subjects and blur backgrounds into dreamy tones. One that comes to mind is Lisa Holloway:

http://ljhollowayphotography.com/

Others, such as Chris Crisman, want everything in focus, seeing each element within the frame as vital:

http://www.crismanphoto.com/

Which end of the DoF spectrum do you gravitate towards?

And, to stir things up, can a photographer become overly dependent on shallow DoF--to the point of compositional laziness?

If we can expand this over the TV/motion side where I live, I would definetly say yes and I would even expand it to revealing lazy lighting(or lack there of), too.

cpsico

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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 10:41:00 AM »
Lazy composition ?!?!?! Do you think any of these are just slapped together? Are you equating bokeh with poor composition because neither have anything to do with each other.

Does a lens that only shoots at f/64 make you any lazier than one that shoots at f/1? It's the kind of question that shows little understanding of photography in general. It's a trap that all newbies to photography fall into. The idea that a piece of equipment will either make or break your success in this field. Lenses fast or slow have no inherent qualities that dictate their absolute use. You don't have to shoot only at 1.2 with a 85mm, it's an artistic choice by the brain behind the camera as to how you will craft an image. Lenses, filters, camera bodies, processing software, etc... are all tools and if you don't know how to use them they won't produce a single image on their own.

A better question is do you prefer a razor sharp or buttery bokeh? The answers you'll receive will provide you a highly varied spectrum of possibilities and none are any more correct than the other. It would be like asking a thousand people which is better... vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Some will chocolate is the very best, other vanilla.... some will say neither, they are lactose intolerant and prefer frozen yogurt.

Clearly, all things being equal, more thought and planning is needed to make more elements work together harmoniously.  But some images and their subjects are best expressed with abstract backgrounds.  Holloway, for one, tends to manipulate her blurred backgrounds with Photoshop to achieve arched effects and other forms of symmetry, so of course compositional understanding is necessary.  She also removes hot spots and dark spots that might be distracting.

"Slapped together" is not a phrase that comes to mind, though "formulaic" may apply if a photographer is offering the same shot over and over (but with different subjects in the same setting and lighting).

George Hurrell is one of my favorite portrait photographers.  He often used very shallow DoF for his glamour shots, leaving only vague shadows or softened geometric shapes of props to suggest that a background had some realism--as opposed to a plain black or white backdrop.  (So his subjects weren't merely floating in "studio space.")

One might even say that great photographers use shadows and highlights as compositional elements, not just happy accidents of "good" lighting.

But constantly resorting to shallow DoF eliminates storytelling.  And it does, to me, sometimes feel like the easy way out during a portrait session.  I don't have to worry about how stadium-seating or trees or phone lines will be distracting.  But if a college grad wants her team's logo on the field, or her volleyball net, or her lab equipment, to help tell the story of her interests, then more careful and time consuming composition must come into play.

I wondered if other photographers sometimes become so reliant on the ability of fast primes to eliminate background "clutter" that they tend to use it too often and miss shots that might better serve the purpose of the subject.  I intended to start a discussion, not a riot!
Lmao, a question or opinion starting a wildfire of raging comments in this forum?
Better yet if you don't have a lense like the 35 1.4 II  buy it and enjoy the best of both styles!

The background is distracting. Boom 1.4
The background is amazing f 5.6 +


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Re: Do fast primes make you a lazy composer?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 10:41:00 AM »