A few words on Posing

A great photo doesn’t necessarily need good planned posing. Take a look at this shot of Tony, Alex, and Scarlett:

Enjoying Gelato at PitangoI didn’t plan it, but I did have to wait for the right pose to present itself. It would be a tighter story without Scarlett, but I think it still conveys a coherent message: kids enjoying ice cream and conversing. A kiddie version of going to the bar, essentially.

While it doesn’t have to be pre-planned, there does need to be good posing, though. Otherwise it’s just a snapshot – something that looks disorganized and takes the mind away from what the image is meant to convey. The larger the group in a photo, the more important the posing is. Let’s move to this example from a few days ago:

Four Generations of Mesa MenI’d been planning this shoot for months. I looked up examples of how not to have awkward family photos and I refreshed myself on posing guidelines for groups. One of the most important guidelines is to create pleasing configurations. Although every rule is meant to be broken, one of the best ways to arrange groups involves creating triangles. The mind loves that. Before I really started nerding out on photography and moving away from snapshots, I would have just had us stand in a row and one of us would hold Sam. You’ve seen it a million times. It’s BORING and it looks unprofessional. What I have above, however, is something I’d be happy to put up on my wall. I have two triangles going on here – or essentially a diamond. Of course, this photo also reveals the unfortunate results of not having another photographer behind the camera. My wife, who took the photo, did not let me know that I needed to move Sam to my right to make the diamond not be lopsided. That screams at me – “I COULD HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL!” Here’s another example:

Lots of Mesa MenAgain, this could have worked so well if we’d had another photographer around. Someone to mention that with the addition of my youngest brothers, that we had to move them all to the right to create a neat, overlapping triangle. Instead we have a lopsided photo. It’s not as horrible as it would have been if I hadn’t been thinking, but by being unable to see the composition from the outside, I couldn’t tell how lopsided it was.

One last photo to contrast against these. Unlike these photos where I’d been planning the arrangement for a long time, there was the rushed family photo before Dan’s engagement party:

A family portrait before going to Dan's engagement partyThis is a lot more of a snapshot than I would have preferred for what will probably be our most dressed up photo until Dan gets married next year. What is wrong with it? Well, for starters it’s a bit lopsided without reason. Yes, we’re in a good rule of thirds spot vs the middle, but we’re not looking off to the side, so it just ends up looking lopsided. Danielle and I should be a lot closer to each other and holding the children in front of us instead of between us. It almost looks like a metaphor. Then there’s Scarlett. She should be in front of the twins. It’d block their feet and also make her less lopsided. Finally, it should have been a portrait shot so that Scarlett wouldn’t look like an afterthought at the bottom. Perhaps we’ll do a slightly less formal shot sometime soon. Of course, we’d once again be in the quandary of not having the photographer able to observe things from the outside. But I think, given the short stature of the children, perhaps a sitting/lounging portrait would work best.

I hope you found that helpful with the provided examples. I also would love to hear any suggestions.

Creating VSCO-Like Photos with RawTherapee

Lots and lots of people ask on Reddit every single day how to get photos that look like they were created with VSCO. Basically – crushed blacks and split-toned. Everyone always gives instructions on how to do it in Lightroom. But no one ever talks about how to do it in RawTherapee, so I decided to create this little tutorial.

Take what you learn here and adapt it to fit your style.

Family Portrait

We’re hardly ever dressed up so nicely. So when we all got dressed up for Dan’s engagement party, I wanted to get a quick family portrait before we left. The pose wasn’t perfect due to the rush, and I’ll be elaborating a bit more on that in a future blog post, but I do like it as a bit of record keeping. Slightly more than a snapshot, but not how I’d have done it if we weren’t in a hurry.

A family portrait before going to Dan's engagement party

Using Flatpak to install LibreOffice on Fedora 24

After someone told me that a PDF I’d created in Calligra Office was illegible and having issues with spreadsheets loading slowly, I decided to install LibreOffice. However, rather than go with the version in the repos, I decided to go with Flatpak – which allows for a more advanced version via the usage of runtimes. First, I had to install Flatpak:

sudo dnf install flatpak

Then I needed to install the runtimes. The LibreOffice page uses the –user tag, but I think that is just for installing it just to yourself rather than for the whole system. So I am omitting that.

wget https://sdk.gnome.org/keys/gnome-sdk.gpg 
flatpak remote-add --gpg-import=gnome-sdk.gpg gnome https://sdk.gnome.org/repo/
flatpak install gnome org.gnome.Platform 3.20

That took a bit and said things like “Writing Objects” on the terminal. Eventually that was done. Then it was time for LibreOffice. I grabbed the file from the website, then:

flatpak install --bundle LibreOffice.flatpak

After doing that I did an alt-F2 to see if it could launch like a regularly installed application. It did not show up. Perhaps Flatpak only works well with Gnome for now?

flatpak run org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

Worked, though.

In the future if I want to update it, I need to run:

flatpak update --user org.libreoffice.LibreOffice</pre>

I do have to say that I’m disappointed it doesn’t appear in my alt-F2 menu.

Multi-Generational Photos

Ever since Sam was born, I’ve been looking forward to a 4 generation male portrait. I’d done a female line portrait with Scarlett up to her great-grandmother. It was finally time to do the same for me. While we were out there and dressed up, we took a few other configurations of family photos. All the males are wearing guayaberas, a traditional shirt worn in the Caribbean, especially in Cuba.

After having had my grandparents here for a week, I’ve been so used to thinking in Spanish that I keep trying to tell Danielle things in Spanish. Last night I even dreamed in Spanish. I guess it does show that those neural connections just snap right back when immersed in the language.

SuperMario is at Fedora 24

My main computer is now on Fedora 24. This time around I only had to uninstall HDR Merge (which was from my COPR and I hadn’t built a Fedora 24 version yet) and OBS-Studio because there isn’t a Fedora 24 package for it yet. Not bad.

After rebooting, I didn’t have graphics. Then rebooting once more kicked the akmod into gear and now things appear to be working well. 2 more computers left to upgrade to Fedora 24 – the VM server and the Kodi living room box.