Mexico, Photographs

Photo of the Week: Two Way Tie

For this week’s Photo of the Week, I can’t decide whether I like Photo 1 or Photo 2 better:

Photo 1 by André

Photo 1 by André

…or:

Photo 2 by André

Photo 2 by André

Photo 1 is more dynamic and shows more of what’s going on. It’s an action picture. But it also kind of makes me motion sick. Photo 2 is easier to look at and I enjoy looking it over to see what I can spot in the picture. But it’s just a boring, squarish composition.

Which one should be photo of the week?

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9 thoughts on “Photo of the Week: Two Way Tie

  1. Beth says:

    I’m a fan of going with your first impression – which, in this case, is “neither.” I agree that the first one is more interesting, but interesting isn’t helpful if it also makes you dizzy. Which is does.

    Options: Think about what story are you trying to tell. If it’s the street level story, crop it down at about the halfway point on the straight photo. You’d eliminate a lot of dead space at the top that isn’t telling us much, you’d have a more interesting panorama-style shape, and we could see the people better. If the story is the people with signs in front of the (?) church, crop 1/3 of the way in on the right – you can keep a little of the street, but lose the extra buildings. If the story is the whole scene, or “church next to busy street” or something like that, try a little less extreme tilt – rotate the straight photo to the left, or the tilted one to the right. You’ll get slightly different results with each of those options. Or try vignetting it, where you fade in from black on the edges; that helps eliminate dead space and focus the eye where you want it. Almost 1/4 of the shot is empty sky, which is part of why it’s not as interesting as you want it to be. I often end up with multiple crops that I like when I do this, and each tells a different story.

    This may be one of those situations that happen all too often – sometimes you get home and realize that the shot you want just isn’t in your camera. You reshoot if you can…or you make do with what you’ve got. But thinking about how you could reshoot is useful, even if you can’t go back – it helps you get better shots in the future. Generally it’s just “I’d walk farther left or right,” or “I’d lay down on the ground or stand on something high.” Or if you’re fancier than me it’s “Ooo I needed my fisheye lens” or something crazy like that. But that is not for travelers. :)

    Oh, and if you want some random reading, google “Dutch tilt,” which I recently learned is the term for that tilted angle thing. Interesting history.

    • What if on reflection, the way I’d reshoot it is, “I’d bring Beth with me and trust her to take it”? Does that work?

      No, in all seriousness, this is great advice. Thank you Beth, I appreciate it.

  2. You need more foreground interest in both of them. They’re both decent in different ways, but everything is too far away to pull in the viewer. I think you post mostly straight from camera, but if you wanted to try a little post-processing I think they could use about -3 on blacks, +15 at on vibrance, a little more clarity, and a bit of sharpening (using Lightroom settings/ terms). Hope this is helpful feedback!

    • This is incredibly helpful feedback Kira, especially about the foreground interest… something I didn’t even think about. Although, if one’s trying to catch a panorama of a city street at night, what would that foreground interest be? Does every city landscape need a fountain or a mime front and center or can they ever just show the church and twinkling lights?

      (Those aren’t rhetorical, I’d love your thoughts on that.)

      And you’re right, I post right from the camera or with a simple crop only. I do have a copy of Lightroom thanks to Beth but not since my last computer crash. When I’m back in Texas I can reinstall it from CD.

      • It’s really more about being sure there’s a path through the photo your eye will follow, which generally means you need a clear starting point. I generally look on photography more as art than reportage, so you know my bias in the next few statements. Photography is about simplifying reality to share what you think is important about a particular subject. You’re taking the big messy world going on in all dimensions in the sphere of sensation and reducing it to, “Look at this.” Part of that is often capturing mood, which is usually communicated through something symbolic, so just keep that in mind too.

        Regarding this particular picture, I’d probably have included some closer people or a kiosk or something in the foreground. A couple walking by holding hands or some kids playing would have been perfect, or maybe a pot of flowers or something.

        Again, this is about the art side of photos. It’s not about saying, “I saw this” but “let me share this with you” and that means going out of your way to find a way to pull someone into the photo, since they viewer can’t smell and feel and taste the location like you can.

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