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Old Oct 13, 2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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In every type of photography there must be a Center of Interest (COI), but for this thread we will discuss how it relates to portraiture. The principle will be the same for flowers, birds, etc..


First we must know what Center of Interest means. The COI is simply the point of interest or main object in a picture. For a portrait, there is 1 COI and that is the subject's face. An effective portrait will lead the viewer to the face and ultimately the eyes. When shooting a family portrait we generally move the subjects close together so that the entire group becomes 1 unit or 1 COI.


Beginning portrait photographers will often compare their work to images in a magazine that are intended to display fashion(fashion shots). In a fashion shot the articles of clothing and accessories should be the COI with the model being an attractive supporting element.


A nude is about the shape of the models body, the texture of the skin and the photographer may attempt to create visual lines. The face may or may not be the intended COI in a nude.


A physique shot is another type of shot we see that will have a COI other than the face. It could be the entire body or a portion of the body such as a man's chest.


I'll give others the opportunity to build on my short explanation of what Center of Interest means or ask questions then we will move on to some of the techniques used to to draw the viewer to our intended center of interest.


Rodney


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Old Oct 13, 2008, 3:47 PM   #2
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[align=center]Isolating the subject[/align]

The most common technique that we use to lead the viewer to our intended center of interest is by isolation. Even the most confused beginner will attempt to do this without thinking about it. We'll move our subjects away from ugly objects or anything we find unattractive therefore isolating them from those distractions.


Our lens will often provide some isolation because of the focal length. A beginner may know nothing about focal lengths and bokeh, though end up with some exceptional blurring of background elements that would otherwise be distractions. If someone would like to elaborate and give us some tips on camera to subject, subject to background distance tips to isolate the subject, I'd greatly appreciate it.


A simple method of isolation is having no background elements at all. A smooth wall or patternless backdrop of some sort will provide isolation, though somewhat less entertaining to the viewer.


Isolation alone will not always lead the viewer to our intended COI, though combined with 1 or more other techniques will help the photographer effectively lead the viewer to the intended center of interest.


Listed here are simple, basic, effective ways to isolate your subject. If anyone has anything to contribute to build onto the topic of isolating the subject or have any questions please do so.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 3:36 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info, there are prescriptions/rules in photography

to better our results, now if we can just remember them all :?.........musket


ps photographers unlike artists don't have to wait until after they're dead to gain recognition

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Old Oct 14, 2008, 5:49 AM   #4
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[align=center]Rule of Thirds[/align]

There are strong points within a portrait frame. These strong points that attract eye attention within the frame are known as the principle of thirds. The face should be the center of interest in a portrait and the ideal placement is near points A or B(see images below) because the human eye will naturally focus on these areas first. While this placement is very effective, breaking this rule can have tremendous impact when properly executed. Obviously, if the subject is upside down or laying down, points A and B will not be an option. For now let's keep the attention on points A and B saving discussions about other arrangements later in this thread.


The 2 images below were recently posted on the forum and demonstrate the use of the Rule of Thirds as described here. Please feel free to share thoughts or ask questions about the rule of thirds.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 5:50 AM   #5
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Example 2
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 6:13 AM   #6
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[align=center]Rule of Thirds
continued
[/align]


In the first image, the photographer used completely black background to isolate the subject. Such a plan will force the viewer on the intended subject or foreground elements. At this point the photographer still hasn't let the viewer know what the intended center of interest is. The rule of thirds is used placing the face on or near point B. The human eye will always look to A and B in a frame first. When too close to the image those who may be blind or near blind in one eye will be drawn to either A or B.


In the second image, vignetting and some blown areas of the background provide the isolation and placement using the rule of thirds lead the viewer to the intended center of interest.




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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:44 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting all this
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 11:16 AM   #8
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aladyforty wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for posting all this
Hi Julie,

I'm going slow with this, but I'll get it all up here. Please don't hesitate to share any ideas you may have about anything I post in this thread. Next up is about how to use contrast in the portrait. I suspect it was be many short parts.

Rodney
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 1:21 PM   #9
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[align=center]Isolation, Rule of Thirds and Contrast in Action[/align]

Here is a baby portrait recently posted by aladyforty. She has isolated the subject from any other elements by using a near patternless background and some blurring. The background and baby's clothing are pastel colors which place the most contrast on the baby's face.


Using the rule of thirds she has placed the eyes near the A and B axis. The viewer will automatically make eye contact with the subject due to the use of the rule of thirds and because the contrasting elements were well planed out there are no distractions to pull the viewer's eyes away from the face.


For this portrait placing the eyes below the line instead of above gives the viewer a sense of the subject's size. Had the eyes been above the line we may feel that the subject is taller, though either will work.


I hope you do not mind I'm using your recent image, Julie.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 4:49 PM   #10
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no problem, I was wondering if the eyes were in the right position, looking at it on a grid helps
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