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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> How do you Compose Your Shot?
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09/21/2002 11:08:34 PM · #1
the maximum size for an entry is 640x480 - however, some of us have cameras that shoot up in the neighborhood of 3000x2000

my question is: when you're shooting for the challenge, do you fill your whole shot with your subject and then shrink it until it's "legal" -- or do you purposely shoot around your subject, using that extra resolution to leave room for creative cropping?

i find myself falling more into the 2nd group, (1) just cuz i can :), and (2) i know that some of the image has to be "thrown away" - this way i get to choose what I want to get rid of instead of letting PhotoShop decide
09/21/2002 11:23:11 PM · #2
I try to compose with my camera whenever possible. I find that leaving extra room around the subject is not a good idea for several reasons...

If you are possibly going to print your photo, the more pixels, the better... I don't seem to have any problems resizing my photos to the challenge level and I don't have any quality problems with the resizing either...

I'm shooting more 35mm lately that I have in the past also, and framing with the camera is required there...
09/21/2002 11:27:19 PM · #3
Well, the resolution is one of the limitations. It's not just the absolute resolution -- let's say you are allowed to have 3000x2000. When you view it on the screen it will be SCALED down to smaller size and you get about 72 pixels PER INCH on your monitor anyway. So it doesn't matter how you do it online. I think they're limiting it to 640x480 to save the file size.

Either way, what this means is that if you take landscape photos, well, it can be bad because your photo might not be "sharp" even though if you were to print it out using your original resolution on 8x10 paper it'll be perfectly fine, but on screen you're limited to the screen's own pixel/per inch. So in that sense, limiting it to 640x480 isn't that bad at all.

I usually shoot at the maximum resolution, do my post processing (contrast + saturation) then resize it down to 640x480 and then do a bit of sharpening. And that's it. This is why if you do CLOSEUPS, your photo will appear "sharper" than if you do a photo of a landscape but that's not necessarily so on printed paper. (Hint, if you want to win, your photos should be sharp by the monitor standards, not necessarily by the printed standards because we don't view photos on here by printing it out first).


Originally posted by spiderman:
the maximum size for an entry is 640x480 - however, some of us have cameras that shoot up in the neighborhood of 3000x2000

my question is: when you're shooting for the challenge, do you fill your whole shot with your subject and then shrink it until it's "legal" -- or do you purposely shoot around your subject, using that extra resolution to leave room for creative cropping?

i find myself falling more into the 2nd group, (1) just cuz i can :), and (2) i know that some of the image has to be "thrown away" - this way i get to choose what [i]I
want to get rid of instead of letting PhotoShop decide
[/i]

09/21/2002 11:27:46 PM · #4
I try to resize as little as possible, so I try to crop a 640X480 piece of my 1600x1200 image. (I've only got a 2 megapixel camera) I'm not that good with photoshop so I try to mess with the photo as little as possible.
09/21/2002 11:33:42 PM · #5
I also try to compose within the camera. Partially because I want as much resolution as possible and partially because I use the DPC challenges to really work on my photographic skills. I try to use the limitations here to force me to get as close as possible to the final shot without editing. Unfortunately, I've had to do a lot of post-processing to compensate for my lack of decent lights, so I don't know how realistic a goal that is for me.
09/21/2002 11:53:06 PM · #6
all of the time i compose on the camera, but viewing it on your computer gives you more room/time to think otherwise, so cropping comes into picture.
09/21/2002 11:57:31 PM · #7
When shooting digital, you always have the luxury of doing it both ways :)
09/22/2002 12:05:46 AM · #8
Originally posted by jmsetzler:
When shooting digital, you always have the luxury of doing it both ways :)


Depending on your subject -- one of my first challenges here was Stop-Motion, and I think some of those (like the birds) could only be shot once...but I do try and do both when I can. I will usually take the tighter shot first, then zoom out to get anythng I may have missed the first time...
09/22/2002 12:11:36 AM · #9
I try to frame it in the camera and crop as little as possible.
Not always able to do that, especially if the zoom isn't enough
or I couldn't walk myself close enough in.

But generally I try and get the shot right 'as-is' from the camera,
then just do levels/ resize and sharpen for the final version.

If I'm going to do a print, I'll probably do some spot-editing and
some dodging/ burning or more selective editing - getting those
flaws blown way up can be annoying...

I think it is a better practice to get it framed well, rather than
save it later on the computer - but it is also a good exercise to
play with different crops, to see how you could do it better the
next time...


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