In this 60 second tv spot we follow Blake (a recovering addict) as he arrives to Ocean Breeze Recovery for the first time. This was filmed by Tom Clark in collaboration with the Stonehenge Circle production company in Miami. Tom Clark is a commercial photographer offering a full range of advertising photography services as well as motion production services. For more of his video work visit Miami director of photography.
Tom Clark is now officially offering services as a commercial photographer in San Francisco. Since the photography industry tends to be seasonal in cities such as Miami and San Francisco, photographers who cover a wider territory can stay involved much more easily with clients.
For practical purposes, Tom Clark is based in Miami during the Fall and Winter Seasons and San Francisco during the Spring and Summer months, however, he is available for assignments as a professional photographer year round in each location. When traveling between Miami and San Francisco flights are considered a personal expense, so clients can rest assured they are never charged for this on their invoice. In each city we offer commercial advertising, fashion, portrait, product, architectural, interior and landscape photography services with capabilities of providing a wide range of production services.
One of my favorite things to photograph is the night landscape, however, as a photographer in Miami I’m faced much more often with urban settings and commissioned to photograph fashion and portraits. So lately I’ve wanted to combine my passion for capturing beautiful scenes at night with my day job so to speak. The result is this fashion story with the always amazing Emily Noe modeling a one piece swimsuit down by the Miami river.
There’s an allure to the night, which helps to provide a sense of place or narrative to photographs. Plus it provides a whole new set of challenges for photographers requiring new and exciting lighting techniques and creative control of exposure settings.
An Excerpt from Digital Photography Composition for Dummies written by Miami Photographer Tom Clark.
Your frame is the entire rectangle that contains your scene. Within it you may create an additional compositional frame — certain elements that surround the subject. Serving as the outer rim of your composition, a compositional frame keeps viewers’ eyes from leaving the image and directs them to the scene’s important components. You can make a compositional frame from almost anything, as I highlight throughout this section.
Portrait photographers commonly use trees to frame a subject. Tree limbs bend and twist into dynamic shapes that seal off the edges of your frame. Often, photographers will pay particular attention to trees when shooting exteriors of buildings and structures. I’ve seen everything from small cottages to the Eiffel Tower framed by trees. In the portrait to the right I used trees in the background as a compositional frame to surround my subject…
Visual depth causes the appearance of three-dimensionality and gives viewers a more enjoyable visual journey through an image. The simplest way to add depth to your composition is to include elements in the foreground, possibly a middle ground, and the background. An object in the foreground appears larger than those things that are farther away. If you position a foreground element center or on a third (refer to Chapter 5 for more about thirds) in your frame, the element takes up a great deal of attention, and viewers most likely see it as the subject.
Positioning foreground elements at the edge of the frame enables landscape photographers to utilize them as compositional framing tools. In this landscape photograph I positioned the rocks in the foreground at the front edge and left and right sides of the frame. They don’t come into the frame enough to compete with the waterfall, which is the subject. Instead, they work to lead viewers into the waterfall. They serve a double purpose by showing the environment around the waterfall and leading eyes to the subject.
A compositional frame doesn’t have to be as obvious as a tree or rock in the foreground. You can use anything to frame an image — any object, shadow, or reflection — and it can be in front of, behind, or surrounding your subject. Be as creative as you can with your frames. Look for shapes, tones, colors, and forms in a scene that seem to create a border for your subject, and allow them to become part of the scene. Also try to incorporate a compositional frame into the image subtly.
Sometimes a compositional element that frames an image serves only one purpose — to be a frame. This isn’t true in the landscape image of the pier, which has many compositional ideas happening at once. It has a frame that’s also quite possibly the subject of the image. You could say that the birds or the sunrise are the subject, but you could just as easily say that the pier stands as the subject as well. The pier works together with the dark sand in the foreground to frame the image, and it also extends into the stronger areas of the image as if it were the subject. Patterns are created with the pier and its reflection. Where the dried up sand washes the pattern away, the sun is positioned to make that point important in the composition. The existence of the pattern on the right side of the frame is balanced by the absence of it on the left side.
To successfully keep a viewer’s attention through the use of a compositional frame, you need to seal off the edges of your image with elements that exist in the scene in a natural way that doesn’t seem too obvious or forced. Your compositional frame should work in a way that presents the subject and the key elements of your image to a viewer. Most compositional frames are created
with elements that are dark in tonality. An image with dark edges and a bright center invites viewers to look at what’s in the center.
A compositional frame needs to add more interest to a scene by providing a unique and creative way of seeing it. Never allow it to distract from the subject or the scene. If you’re using foreground elements to frame your scene, be sure not to block any important elements or details with the compositional frame. Choose a camera angle that reveals everything that’s necessary to conveying your message. This photograph combines multiple elements to create a compositional frame; the elements work together because they share a dark tone. The dark elements surrounding the subject make the lighter areas seem more inviting, providing a porthole for you to peer into. The dark subject (the bonsai tree) easily stands out against the light background, which immediately draws your eyes in. As you look around the image, the pier and its pilings do their best to keep you from exiting by sealing the perimeter. In fact, the sunlit driftwood occupies the only area along the edge that invites your eyes to leave. This spot stands out and is right at the edge, which can be dangerous in a compositional sense. In this case, though, the driftwood works with the pattern underneath the pier to bring you back into the image. Notice how the sunlight on the piece of wood creates two light areas separated by a dark strip. This pattern looks a lot like the underside of the pier; the similarities cause you to subconsciously compare the two, bringing you back into the scene for another look.
South FL is not necessarily the epicenter of any particular scene (such as Paris to fashion or culinary artistry), but still there’s plenty going on at any given time (especially in the Winter months.) Because the area offers a little of this and a little of that, freelance photographers in Miami will often receive job inquiries with diverse requests.
In a recent editorial shoot for Equistyle Magazine I had the pleasure of photographing Georgina Bloomberg who is the daughter of New York City Mayor Micheal Bloomberg and has been ranked as one of the 20 “Most Intriguing Billionaire Heiresses” by Forbes Magazine. Georgina has had a great deal of success as an equestrian professional, currently sponsored by Ariat International, but many folks in South Florida know her most for her committed role in Friends of Finn, an organization dedicated to stopping the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills.
Bloomberg’s passion for show jumping puts her Wellington home in the perfect location considering the town hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival, which receives worldwide attention. As a commercial photographer I found things to be very interesting once inside the show grounds. Not only are there many great photo opportunities, but the scene and lifestyle are thriving with energy and abundance. The common South Florida resident would likely know very little of the equestrian existence, but once inside the show grounds I quickly realized that to the average equestrian little else matters. I can see the allure of the lifestyle since inside the festival the most popular modes of transportation are by horse, golf cart, dirt bike or foot. And I can imagine jumping a horse is quite the thrill.
The Bloomberg residence in Wellington makes a nice home not only for Georgina, but for the horses, various rescued dogs, and even a rescued pig named Wilber.
Digital Photography Composition for Dummies is a thorough compilation of information, tips, techniques, and examples helpful to photographers of all levels. Here is a brief summary of what the book’s 1st chapter has to offer:
“Because of the composition used in creating this image, the mountain on the left dominates all other elements in the scene; those elements exist in the frame to tell you more about the mountain itself — that it’s in a cold climate, it’s massive, and it exists in dramatic weather conditions.”
Here are some other points to pay attention to when composing a photograph:
✓ Pay attention to your contrast. The area with the highest contrast (the most drastic transition from light to dark) usually is the first place viewers look in an image. You also can use color to create contrast.Chapter 6 gives you more information on contrast.
✓ Keep your focus on the subject. Your focal point is the area in the scene that you focus on with your lens. Usually this is the subject itself. When you look at something, your eyes focus on it. And the point in an image that’s in focus is most similar to how you see things in real life. So, you’ll probably pay most attention to that area when viewing an image. For more information on how to focus on a subject, read Chapters 3 and 7.
✓ Provide leading lines. Leading lines get the attention of a viewer’s subconscious and direct his eyes from one element in the frame to another. Photographers use leading lines as a way to keep your eyes in the frame and to tell a story in a certain order. Picture, for example, railroad tracks that lead your eyes to a vanishing point on the horizon. For more on lines, head to Chapter 4.
✓ Direct viewers through the frame with tonal gradations. Tonal gradations are areas that go from lightness to darkness or vice versa. These gradations help direct a viewer through a frame because if your eye starts at the point with the highest contrast, perhaps it will next go to the point with the second highest contrast.
✓ Draw attention in a photograph using color. An outstanding color can help viewers determine the subject of a photo. If, for example, a photograph includes a crowd of people wearing white hats and one person wearing a red hat, viewers’ eyes naturally go to the person with the red hat, which is likely your subject. Chapter 6 covers various methods of using color to draw a viewer’s eye or create a specific mood.
✓ Include patterns and repeating elements. These elements tend to catch a viewer’s eye — perhaps because humans have the natural ability to recognize similarities in things. A mirrored image (like the reflection of mountains in the water) adds interest to a composition. Natural and manmade patterns add interest as well.
✓ Create a visual frame within your frame using the compositional framing technique. Your frame refers to the edges of your viewfinder or photograph, but a compositional frame is something you create that occupies the area inside the edges of your frame. Its purpose is to keep viewers’ eyes from wandering away from the photograph. If a leading line goes to the edge of the frame, a viewer’s eyes follow it, leading him directly out of the image. A compositional frame creates lines that go along the edges to direct eyes back toward the elements of the scene.
For more tips, techniques and examples on photographic composition check out Digital Photography Composition for Dummies.
“Some people say that great photographs can be captured with even the cheapest point-and-shoot cameras and that photography is all about the photographer’s eye, not the equipment or technique used. This thought is true on certain levels of standards, but why would you stop at just having a good eye? Photography and composition is about more than just pointing your camera at something that looks interesting. Discovering how to take your good eye to the next level and back it up with a thorough understanding of the equipment and techniques available advances the quality of your photography to much more impressive levels.” Digital Photography Composition for Dummies.