The Contrast Project, Part 1: Point and Line |

I recently mentioned that I got a new book on photographic design and composition. So far, it’s been an exceedingly useful read. I’m trying to go through it slowly, to allow myself time to absorb all of the information in it, but I’ve already found myself applying a lot of the concepts it discusses.

Anyways — one of the first things it talks about in the book is the idea of contrast. Many good photos have some type of visual contrast to them: things like light/dark, big/little, liquid/solid, etc. The challenge is being deliberate about incorporating these visual contrasts into your photos. The book provides a list of 27 different types of contrasts that often appear in photos, and it challenges you to take pictures that emphasizes this contrast. So, I’m doing it, and I’ll post the results here.

The first type of contrast is point/line contrast. Turns out that it’s substantially more challenging than I expected, going into it. Lines are everywhere — they’re very easy to find. Points are a lot more subtle, but also appear all over the place. However, finding the two together in a subject that I feel like photographing… Much more challenging. I’ve been watching for good photos opportunities for about a week now, and have had almost no good ideas come to me. Finally, today I decided I was just going to go out and take some pictures, and hope for the best. I’m not unhappy with the results — I don’t think they’re my best work ever, but they’re not bad, either.

1/100s, f/11, ISO-200, 40mm

This first picture required a fairly heavy amount of Photoshopping before I was happy with the results. The main problem is that there was a lot of distortion, because I was shooting up at the building, and I wanted everything to run parallel to the frame, so I spent a goodly amount of time fixing that.

The second required less work, but I still like how it turned out:

1/80s, f/4.5, ISO-200, 105mm

So anyways, this is going to be my project for the next… However long it takes me to get through the list. At the rate I’m going, it could be awhile. My ground rules for the project are the following:

1) The subject of the photo can’t be created by me specifically for the purpose of this project (i.e., if I’m making something for dinner and it meets the criteria, that’s fine, but I won’t specifically arrange things just so I can take a picture of it).
2) Photoshopping is fine to the extent that I normally do — I’ll touch up levels, straighten things out, remove blemishes if necessary, etc. But I want my photos to be more on the realism end for this project, so I won’t be doing any HDR shots, or artificially high contrast, etc. I also (and this probably goes without saying) won’t be Photoshopping in the elements that I’m supposed to be taking pictures of.
3) I’m trying not to force myself or rush myself. I’m trying to learn how to be more patient as a photographer, and I also want to continue having fun, so I don’t have any sort of self-imposed schedule that I’m going to stick to. I’ll finish when I finish.

Anyways, let me know what you think! And for the photographers who follow me, if you’re daring, I’ll challenge you to the same project. I’d like to see what other people come up with.