Friday, July 6, 2012

Before and After - Tutorial by Roel on

Roel on the website has produced a very nice tutorial entitled "Before and After." In this piece, he presents pairs of images, each explaining a photographic challenge he has encountered ("Before") and his solution ("After").
(Click Here) to see the full tutorial on

Before, by Roel

Roel's "Before"
Image Source:

Roel's After
Roel's "After"
Image Source:

Roel has done a very nice job here. In the example above, he's making the point that you should consider including context around your subject. Yes, the bike is the subject. Most of us have been trained to focus closely on the subject, removing anything that is not essential from the frame. In this example, Roel shows that the Chinese characters on the wall near the subject really add to the composition, making it easier to understand the setting of the bicycle.
In other examples, Roel makes the following points (see the link above to see Roel's pictures for each):
  1. Change your perspective to get a different picture, emphasizing the most interesting part of the scene.
  2. "Shoot what cannot be shot." I find this description a little misleading. What Roel really did in this example was to focus on the interaction of a mother and son, rather than placing them within the context of a market.
  3. Understand your real subject - in this example, Roel focuses on the hands of a worker in a Chinese silk factory. This is a wonderful example.
  4. Focus on finding interesting light first - a good picture will follow.
  5. Frame your subject. This one is striking as well. Roel uses a window frame in his hotel room to make a harbour scene in Hong Kong much more interesting.
  6. Tell a story. We all know this. We must all be reminded of this.
Roel's bicycle example (shown above) reminded me of a shot of my own. In the shot below, it was the way that the plants had overgrown this old scooter that caught my eye. I am fond of this image. However, I am now wondering if there was any context that would have placed it as being taken in Japan. Hmm. I may get the chance to see this one again, as we go to Japan every spring to visit family. Maybe I'll have an "after" shot next year?

"Before" Shot?, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4
iso 160, f5.6, 1/160 sec