I am so excited to be back online and posting about photography! A quick message about why I have been in remote silence for the month of June:
Back in late May, my computer stopped working in PhotoShop. I suddenly couldn’t edit any photos. Any time I tried to do any little change to a photo, I would get an error saying “insignificant RAM.” I had a laptop with 4 GB RAM, which is all Photoshop claims it need. However, I went onto Photography Blogs and everyone says that Photoshop usually uses 5 GB just to run and 6-7 GB if you’re editing multiple photos at a time. So strange that I was able to edit photos before and then suddenly couldn’t. I decided to look into another option for editing my photos. I looked at what I would need a new laptop to do for top performance of Photoshop. I looked at tablets that would be cheaper and still accomplish what I needed. I even looked a little into desktops; unfortunately, I do all of my blogging and editing during nap time–in a dark room while my girls sleep–so a desktop wasn’t an option.
Then, my keyboard stopped working on my laptop, especially “g” and “h”. Try typing a blog post without “g” and “h” and you’ll realize how those are two very helpful letters. So, I needed a new laptop for blogging and photo editing. I read all the blogs and articles I could find about the best computers for photo editing. For those interested, the best website that states the criteria you should consider when looking for a laptop with the specific purpose of photo editing is here and includes:
⦁ A newer processor for high performance, such as a Intel i5 or i7 processor
⦁ At least 8 GB of RAM, and ask if there are extra RAM slots, if you need to upgrade later
⦁ 256 GB “SSD” Storage (this would require you to also have an external hard drive to store your photos on) or 1 TB of Storage (to store your photos on your laptop)
⦁ 2 GB of Dedicated Graphics, which helps with editing high resolution photos
⦁ Full HD Display with Good Color Accuracy
Armed with this criteria, I then searched and messaged over 100 people on Craigslist, OfferUp, and LetItGo for used laptops for sale that matched the criteria I needed and offered a price within my budget (which wasn’t very high). I am happy to say that I found a computer and I am back to blogging and photo editing. With that, my next PhotoShop Challenge will be next week as I have been spending all day downloading Creative Cloud onto my new computer.
My newest Photography Book recommendation is “Picture Perfect Practice” by Roberto Valenzuela. I recommend this book so highly that I bought it, rather than renting it from the library. Valenzuela is a world renown portrait photographer who has won lots of prestigious awards that I have never heard about and teaching expensive seminars to train people in his craft. His book is written like he’s personally teaching you. It is filled with his insights and knowledge about creating masterful photography and has photography challenges at the end of each lesson. If you enjoy my mini photography challenges, this book is for you.
Today, I tried to implement his first lesson: using shapes to create visual interest. Shapes are one of the first things that we learn to distinguish. My toddler will learn a new name for a shape and then find it everywhere around us: in our home, in the park, at the lake, grocery store… literally I cannot escape the many circles she finds. But as we grow up, our minds stop processing these shapes in our daily life. By using shapes in our images, it draws the eye to these geometric shapes and creates interest. There are three main ways that you can use geometric shapes: framing, balance, background.
Framing is the most common way to use shapes in portrait photography. It’s seen in Pinterest images of a couple kissing through a window or holding up a picture frame in front of their faces or someone placed within a door frame. You use a shape to frame your subject. It’s common because it’s very effective in creating eye catching images. Here are a few of my attempts below:
Balance is less common and therefore has the potential of surprising your subject with interesting images. It requires you to use an shape to add depth or dimension to your portrait. Below is my attempt to use a sign to balance the picture of the children on the swing. Without the sign, the image would be flat but instead it adds character and a story line.
Background is also pretty common way to use geometric shapes. You could capture someone in front of a brick wall or a wall of windows. Or you can combine both background and framing by framing someone inside an arch of a multiple arch bridge. While it is pretty common, I have not yet captured an image that I have liked to display below. When I do, I will update this post.
Photography Challenge: Shapes
Go out and capture five pictures of each shape: circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and oval. Capture it using one of the three methods: framing, balance or background. While this challenge seems easy enough, you will find it is actually harder than it appears! I was surprised when I attempted it!