Monday, July 9, 2012

Add Emphasis Using One Of Photoshop's Oldest Tools

If you see a branch with its arm stretched out wide, with beautiful fall colored leaves on it, do I have to tell you it's from a tree?  We don't have to see the tree to know it's there.  All that's needed is the suggestion to help tell the story.  The same holds true for today's image.  You see the violin, the hand fingering the strings and a piece of the bow.  In your mind you know that the bow isn't magically floating there, gliding across the strings by some celestial force.  There's a hand somewhere below the edge of the image.

One of the most powerful, and least discussed tools in the Adobe Photoshop CS6 (and any number below it) is the Crop Tool (C).  It's a tool for cropping parts of an image, not just "trimming" the excess.  In today's image there was plenty of room in the original frame to include the top of the guy's head, the bottom of the bowl, and the belt he was using to hold his pants up.  The "big deal" is that none of that added to the story telling of the image.

One of the first "cool" images I made was for a holiday card to send to the relatives.  It was of our first born, a son.  It wasn't him standing tall (all 2' 6" of him at the time), showing him from head to foot.  It was his eyes.  Just a swath from the bridge of his nose to the brim of the hat he wore.  It told the complete story.

That was long before Photoshop was ever thought of.  But the "theory" is the same today as it was then.  Crop out whatever doesn't move the "story" of the image along.  Today's image never even got to Photoshop.  It was all done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (or it could have been done, just as easily, in the ACR [Adobe Camera Raw] package that comes with Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements.

I'm a big believer in ruthless cropping.  What more does today's image need to convey the story?  I don't think it needs any more.  Let me know if you think the image would be enhanced by having additional elements.  I'd like to know.