Estimated read time: three minutes.
Hi there and welcome back for another week of Photo Shoots With Laz!
The prompt for this week is:
Get out your color wheel. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? Does the Hulk wear purple pants? Mix warm and cool colors.
The challenges for each week are also divided into one of 4 categories. The category for this week is…
Composition refers to the way the various elements in a scene are arranged within the frame. Challenges will focus on setting up the shot and developing our personal composition styles; styles which can become our trademark. Developing your Composition will allow you to set the stage to generate a reaction from your audience.
Composition Set Up
For this week’s prompt I may have deviated a bit from color harmony regarding combining warm and cool colors for a contrast effect. My idea for this week’s prompt came from the recurring cold weather in Michigan and the snowstorm that blanketed the state with an additional five inches of snow.
While the snow is all but gone now from the warm weather (if you consider 40 degrees to be warm, which we Michiganders do), I wanted to take the opportunity to capture some of it before it’s gone for another nine months.
Initially I struggled to come up with an idea for color harmony and the composition for a photo; after looking at a few other photo submissions on the subreddit, instead of trying to find the right colors and composition in a nature setting I decided to run up to Michael’s, purchase a few items and set them up for a quick photo shoot!
I wanted to take advantage of the remaining snow on the ground and in my mind I figured a bright red would naturally pop from the white of the snow. A variety of objects can be used to great effect here, but I chose to buy decorative red flower petals to scatter about on the ground in a top-down style photo.
This is where I deviated from color harmony, as white isn’t technically a color, but I took greater advantage in terms of composition and arranging the elements to really bring out that bright red in the flower petals.
There wasn’t a specific motivation or symbolism behind this photo shoot; I just thought it would make for a neat opportunity and ran with it.
One of the biggest challenges of this photos shoot was finding a place where all the snow hadn’t melted (which happened to be behind my house in the shade), arranging the flower petals and placing them so they didn’t blow away in the wind.
I struggled with trying to place the flower petals and either made them too perfectly arranged, too spaced out and seemingly disorganized, or placing them and having one or two petals move from the wind.
After a few different adjustments I decided to just clump them up into a pile with one or two placed randomly away from the heaping pile.
While this really breaks the rule of thirds, as the petals are all in the center of the photo, I found that having the petals clumped instead of neatly placed made for the best composition.
As a last-minute adjustment, I also decided to sprinkle a bit of snow on the petals to make it seem more natural, rather than having perfect petals lying in the snow without a hint of being covered or immune to snowflakes.
For editing I didn’t do much to the photos other than raise the exposure because of how shaded the snow was behind my house. I boosted the contrast up a bit, increased the highlights and whites to bring out more shadows on the petals so they didn’t look so one-dimensional and raised the clarity.
I didn’t need to do anything color-wise, considering the only color I had to work with was red and the petals were vibrant enough already. By increasing the highlights and whites, I was able to make the snow contrast more with the petals and look more “snow-white” compared to an “overcast white” that only northern states can offer during bleak winter time.