Thursday, July 15, 2010

Capture Context In Your Photography

On Monday, several of you mentioned you loved the context in our family dinner photo. It set off my thinking about context, "the big picture" of our photography.   In working towards the perfect photo with a lovely blurred background it can become easy to ignore the details that provide time, place and memory.

I love my childhood photos with the green countertops, funky wallpaper, and odds and ends in the frame. How do you capture context in an appealing way though?

It's all about focus. Focus on a strong subject in the frame so the viewer knows exactly the story you are telling.

In this photo, Ian performs his version of the chicken dance. While the story is definitely about he and the new chickens, you can see so much of our life at this moment in the frame. In the foreground is the potato bed, a favorite place to dig for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the background you can see his fort, the compost pile where we've witnessed a skunk and a snake, and on the left side of the frame, one of our 17 tomato plants sneaks into the frame. Zooming in on just him would have lost all of those details.

Here's another favorite of mine. Ian is playing Plants Versus Zombies on the iPhone. I'm certain it will be a favorite childhood memory for Ian. In the details of the frame you can see our location, our meal, and the fun art that Ian loves about Capital Dog.

You can see more of my examples in the garden and looking back to the holidays of 2008.

 Do you love context too? I'd love to see yours!


Teri said...

I love context, but often get wrapped up in the perfect DOF. I have tried to work on that and hopefully I will do better. My every day photos don't need to be fine art, but they do need to tell the story. Thanks for the reminder K.!

Anonymous said...

I'm always happy to see pictures of Justin. I haven't seen him since your wedding. my, how he's grown....

Kris said...

I love the picture in your backyard. Sometimes I think I get so focused on the face that I forget the surroundings. Thanks for the reminder and the tips!


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