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Thread: Useful photographs

  1. #1
    Downstairs
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    Italy
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    Useful photographs

    There are more than enough beautiful photographs out there.
    Perhaps LF members can contribute ideas about how to go about making useful photographs instaid.
    Here are mine, which go for things, people and places:
    * Be a draughtsman and
    - Shoot close enough for the subject to have tangible perspective
    - but leave enough air around the subject to fill periferal vision.
    - Place the subject on a recognizable plane of reference.
    - Light the subject from just off you left shoulder (that's how most people examine things).
    - Use tone breaks to describe the subject's shape.
    Last edited by cjbroadbent; 11-Nov-2009 at 03:26.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Christopher, great topic and thanks as always for your expert opinion. I would like to ask why your image has such an expanse of open space at the top and so little support at the bottom?

  3. #3
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    Re: Useful photographs

    I enjoy the photo :-) Pardon my asking though, what do those items have to do with making a photo "useful", and what do you mean by useful?
    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  4. #4

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    Tonopah, Nevada, USA
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    Re: Useful photographs


    Useful. Everything, OK, most everything you need to know about this lens if you want to purchase it. The photo is large enough and has enough resolution that you can read directly from the lens what it is. A Series IV f12.5 wide field protar. The banana's add a bit of welcome color and also are a very usable reference to let you know this lens is quite compact. Yes, it's for sale.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    on the banks of the Potomac
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Robert, Daniel,
    perhaps 'useful' in this context means 'magazine cover'; which would explain the extra room at the top, leaving space for the title up there.
    Christopher, another fine image. I enjoy your sense of light and perspective a great deal.

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Who says that photos have to be useful? Without meaning to open too big a can of worms here, you can say that Art is something that is created for no particular purpose other than for the sake of it's own creation. Usefulness has nothing to do with it for anyone other than the person who makes it.

    If you're talking about jobs, that's a different story but even then it's certainly not possible to come up with a check list for success. It's like when people say that portraits "have" to be lit with one light in the front at a certain angle and a hair light at a certain height etc. The horror. Isn't it more important to be creative that pedantic? Different jobs have different requirements. There is no one perfect formula for a "useful" photo.

  7. #7

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    Re: Useful photographs

    I liked the idea of exploring this path. Like Christopher says, you've got 1,000 other posts for all the creative pictures. We can't have one to discuss when photographs perform a prescribed function? This idea is not foreign to me, though perhaps somewhat foreign to LF these days. I work in photometrics where photography is used to measure time space speed information. There are a million uses besides creative art. Christophers picture was beautiful just the same.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  8. #8
    Downstairs
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Useful. I avoided saying descriptive. Maybe I should have said "A satisfactory and informative representation for the viewer". I dropped in on a workshop Nathan Lyons was doing in Rochester on the practical use of photography by other professions (1979). He used the word useful.
    The air on the top of the illustration was for a headline. The stuff there is useful for demonstating perspective, plane of reference and lighting.
    Anyway thanks for the response. I'm sure photogaphers who are not professionals but who get their stuff across efficiently in their particular trade have ideas that can help the rest of us. As you can see, my tips are very mundane but might be useful to someone.

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Santa Barbara
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Jim,

    Interesting choice of the banana for a sense of scale!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
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    Re: Useful photographs

    Useful actually is the key concept for the LF work that I do--perhaps accuracy might be even better. For the kind of historical documentation work that I do, aesthetics are important but secondary. The primary goal is to record the important architectural or engineering features of the building or structure, because it most likely will not be standing for very long after I get my photographs, and what I record might well be all that people in the future will know about the building or structure. The imagination that comes into play with this goal of "usefulness" is to find the best way to record what is most important about the subject, something that is different in every case. That's not to say that you can't come up with decent-looking documentation photograph, though, and once I figure out the views that I need, I then see what I can do compositionally to make the photograph as pleasing visually as I can.

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