Sunday, September 04, 2011

Balloon Composition

I shot this at Telus Field on August 16th with my iPhone. I was trying to see if I could follow the rule of thirds in-camera, but the balloon isn't quite in the right position. If I understand the rule correctly, the subject should lie at the intersection of imaginary lines dividing the photograph into thirds. So I popped the image into Photoshop, used guidelines to roughly divide the image into thirds, then cropped it in order to place the balloon at one of the intersections. Here's the result:
Seems a little more visually interesting, I think.
I tried the same trick to improve this photo's composition, but trying to bring the balloon into alignment seemed to throw off the positioning of the lighting array and the edge of the safety net. Either I'm doing something wrong, or I've just shown that composition in the field is crucial; you can't fix everything in the editing room.

1 comment:

"JoJeffanna" said...

The play's the thing, as the great man once wrote, and Photoshop needs to be played with. There's always some way to do something in Photoshop: one artist's cheat is another's payday.

The rule of thirds is just that, a rule and not a law. Even so, I think your images show the power of the rule very well. The balloon looks like it's being plotted on a three dimensional graph. It's a unique and interesting image, and I like it a lot.

Of course you can break the law if something looks beter. In the next case, you are presenting an even more fundamental aspect to composition: foreground middleground and background as interactive elements. The FG occludes the balloon in the MG, which in turn is getting some direct light from the sun source in the BG: it all ties together.

Cropping the image will probably wreck the BG, leaving you with an implied direct light source. If there were more elements to carry the image, that could work, but there are not.

So, you either stick with the composition you have, or else cut and paste the balloon into its proper position (which would require superhuman effort, or a re-shoot where you intentionally shoot the image without the balloon and then insert a separate balloon on its own layer). Or you can try a scale transform to acheieve your goal. Yes, you will squash your elements, but they look like they have flat perspective, so I imagine you could squash the image into shape at least 20% before it would look distorted. As long as you don't break the perspective, you can scale away as much as you like. I use this trick all of the time.

Even if you do break the perspective, you can try to force it back using the perspective transform. That's what I did to re-orient the manhole and make it round in the Pipe Maniac poster.