Monday, February 23, 2015

Black face with coal dust

This is another shot of Shannon Purdy on a coal tailing in Madrid, New Mexico. This photo is taken from the opposite angle to the one we have already discussed.

Principals of composition: The first thing you may notice right away is the difference in contrast between Shannon and the very black coal she is climbing on. Also note that the clouds in the background also support this contrast and give softness to the image by difference in texture. I placed the trees near the bottom left of the frame to give a sense of depth and scale. Shannon has been placed on the right third line in this photo we her figure being located on the Golden Section. Anytime you can frame your composition using the Golden Sections it will surely strengthen your image and give you something to work with. In the next overlay you will see as before the strong use of diagonals in this composition.

Notes on this image: Shannon showed how much of a trooper she really is during this photo. The wind was constantly blowing small as well as very large pieces of coal straight into her face. She never said a thing and just let me shoot as if it were a calm day. After a few shots I went up to get some close in shots and noticed her face was black with little pieces of coal and asked her if she was okay. Right as the question left my mouth a huge gust blew and I was covered in black dust. I told her we were getting out of the mining business and helped her down the hill to a more shelter area to work in.

When first learning shoot, use the basic rules of composition until you get a feel for your own personal style. Once you have shot several different locations or models a style will become more evident to you. Everyone has their own style and knowing yours is important to your future growth. Models will also get to learn your shooting style and will seek you out to work with based on your portfolio. I would suggest finding someone you really like and try shooting the same style of image they have shot. Even when you are trying to shoot a very similar photo to one of your favorite photographers you will be able to pick up on slight differences in your own work. After a little time you will easily recognize a certain look to your photos.

Next week we will be discussing the final photo of this segment. Please come back for that post, as I will be making everyone a special offer. Also please sign up to the newsletter to keep up to date on our long-term project we have going called, “My Nude Year.” You can sign up by going to (  

Please don't forget my blog is moving to and thank you for reading,

JW Purdy

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