How to Take Better Pictures: Color and Focus



Tulip……for you!, originally uploaded by Imapix.

Just wanted to share this shot from Imapix as an example of excellent use of color and focus. (Although it’s also an example of good composition.)

Color can be just as important as lines and composition in drawing your viewer’s eyes to the subject of your image. In this case, the warm tones of the budding flower contrast with the cooler tones of the green and blue foliage in the background. This contrast helps divide the subject and make it “pop” against the rest of the image content. Even though there is a spot of warmth on the right-hand buds, the main flower’s vibrancy keeps it the clear center of attention.

Focus can also enhance the subject of an image. In this image, there are two aspects of focus on display. First, the subject is sharply focused, showing fine details that encourage your eyes to linger and explore. Secondly, a photographic effect called bokeh results in the background of the image being blurred and indistinct. You can produce bokeh by using a wide aperture on a lens. However, the smaller the lens, the harder it is to produce bokeh in an image. That means that it’s very hard if not impossible to produce bokeh using a small point and shoot digital. When combined, sharp focus on a subject and bokeh result in an enhanced “pop” of your subject away from the background.

Lifetime Guarantee

The Boston Globe has reached a deal with their labor unions to hopefully keep the paper running. Turns out one of the most contentious parts of the negotiations had nothing to do with compensation – it had to do with guaranteed lifetime employment. This is one of the things that makes my mind spin at the labor unions.
I’ve never worked in a unionized job, so maybe I just lack some critical angle on the whole deal here. But it seems pretty clear that the unions are no longer a bastion of hope against the unfair practices of evil management. It’s one thing to organize against sweatshop wages and unsafe work environments. But it’s a joke to organize so you blackmail management into a suicide pact – and that’s what lifetime employment guarantees are. When business is growing, there’s no real impact to an enterprise from that agreement. But it’s no wonder that management at any enterprise needs to get those provisions struck when business is weak.
As the economic downturn picked up over this last year, I’ve consistently heard stories about how unions have threatened the economic viability of businesses. The obvious examples from the Detroit car companies are just the tip of the iceberg. Unionized labor may have been a good thing in the past, but I have to wonder if there will be a point in time when government labor regulations will reduce unions to nothing but a poison pill that threatens both management AND labor with their demands.