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Photography Tips For Beginners

Updated on March 10, 2014


A photographer and cinematographer use almost the same techniques as each other when it comes to forcing mood. Mainly, in this specific visual art, color, perspective, pacing, movement, sound, composition, and lighting are all used to force the mood that they intend for the audience to receive. Almost all of these techniques apply to both photography and cinematography with the exception of sound and pacing. However, with all of these different techniques used correctly in their respective pictures, any mood that the artist wants can be conveyed.


Color and Mood

Color and Mood: When it comes to any form of modern art, color choice can be a big deal when trying to convey the mood that you want to be interpreted. For example, the color blue is a very calming color, literally lowering blood flow. Whereas red is almost the exact opposite: a bright color that increases blood flow and excitability. From this alone, it is evident that the with just the colors chosen to be shown in an image, the tone that can be given off can greatly be altered. In general, colors that are darker will generally give off more of a serious vibe, whereas bright colors are to be taken less seriously and aren’t as intense or dramatic. The creator of the image can also use bright colors to compliement the dark or dark colors to compliment the bright. The way that the colors are used have a big impact on how the image will appear in the end. Light colors that are complimented by dark colors have a much stronger feel to them then if they were to be surrounded by other bright colors.



Perspective: The way that things are viewed, or the perspective, in photography or cinematography can make a person feel small, or big, or powerful, or weak, which helps tremendously when trying to give off a certain tone. Cameras, in both cinematography and photography exaggerate their perspective, which adds to the drama within the image. When a camera has a low angle, the viewer will feel small, not important and weak, but if you are to give a high angle, where the camera is looking down at somebody, it will be just about the opposite where the viewer will feel strong and powerful.



Pacing: Pacing is one of the only subtopics that only applies to film, since in a still there is only one frame. However, pacing in a film is very important to the way that it is interpreted. For example, when in a movie there are varying speeds and pace, the overall tone can make life appear not consistent and unrealistic. When things happen slowly it can be conveyed as a love thing, and vice versa for fast moving scenes.



Movement: Movement, much like pacing, can control the tone of the overall film. When movement in film is fast, it can make things seem rushed and urgent, and when things are slow, it can make things seem relaxed and peaceful. Movement can also create suspense within a film. If the camera were to be moved in a way that showed very little, suspense will be created from not knowing what is going on. When different movements are implemented into the final piece, the tone and feel can be altered along with the sense of urgency that is being conveyed. Movement can also be shown in Photography (refer to picture). In the picture, it can be seen that the bear is spinning due to the background being blurred, implying that there is fast movement going in a rotational pattern behind the subject, which is the bear.



Sound: Sound is obviously a not part of photography, but when it comes to film, it is just as--if not more--important than the visuals. Good audio can create any sort of mood that you want. Sound is so powerful, that the brain subconsciously takes in the audio and sound and translates that into a mood. Music can also be a motif in cinema to foreshadow when an enemy or protagonist is going to enter. Fast paced music can give a rushed tone, where slow music can make everything seem lovey or not rushed. Music controls the mood just as much as any other aspect of cinema.



Composition: The composition of an image in film and in photography is another aspect of fine art that can greatly alter the way that people view the image. Much like music, composition can be interpreted without the viewer consciously knowing it. If you are to center an image, it may appear professional, however it is also considered to be boring. When an image is placed slightly off to the side (rule of thirds… when you split your image into thirds, and place your subject based on that), it can appear as though the artist has put more effort into the image, and comes across as more interesting. With different kinds of framing, for example if the frame were to somewhat disorganized, the image may come across as realistic. These subtle things that go into composing an image affect how the entire product’s end result is viewed.



Lighting: Lighting can also be applied to both photography and cinematography and once again has a big impact on the way that an image is interpreted. When lighting is harsh, the image may appear to have a certain hostility that comes with it. If lighting is soft, the image will be more relaxed. Since a sun is above our heads, if light were to come from above, the scene would feel more natural. If light is to be on a rough surface, it will feel more gritty than if light were to be off of a glossy surface. In general, lighting can be seen as the building blocks to mood, and when everything else is applied along with the lighting, the mood and image that you want can be shown with extreme accuracy.


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