Cinematic looks have been gaining popularity and is a sought-after fashion in photography, but what exactly does what does it mean for a photograph to be classified as such?
Cinematic photo conveys a strong feeling of mood, location and story, like the image were directly from your favorite Scorsese films. Cinematography and photography have several of the concepts and techniques, which is why as photographers, we can utilize the film’s visual language to create cinematic photographs.
The smallest details that signal an emotional story or mood could help make the viewer feel. It’s important to give our photos an appearance regardless of lighting, composition, settings or even tonal adjustments.
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These guidelines will allow you develop your own cinematic images…
1. Use the scenery
Filmic photographs often have an uncanny sense of location and contextual. One way to do this is to make the most of the landscape.
Utilize the shapes and objects surrounding the subject for adding more details to the photo. If, for instance, the subject is located in the field, frame it to include grass in the background. If they’re in a small space take a shot through the window to show how tightly they’re within. Find innovative ways to incorporate the surroundings in your shots and search for interesting perspectives to capture from.
2 The width and the depth
One of the most important techniques that you will see time and time again in filmic shots involves subject separation. This involves lighting or shooting your subject in an approach that they appear distinct from their surroundings.
A simple method for this is to use an aperture wide enough that your field of view becomes extremely narrow and the background blurs. A prime lens that has the widest aperture, such as 50mm f/1.4 is the ideal choice. Alongside having an aperture that is wide it is also possible to help your subject stand out from the background by moving them away from itand making use of more focal lengths.
3 Try using backlighting
Backlighting is utilized often in cinematography. It involves using a light source – whether it’s the sun, an illuminator, or reflector behind the subject to illuminate parts of their image.
In a film with a superhero theme, it could be a dramatic hard light that emphasizes the physique that is chiselled. In a period-style drama, it could be a soft, light that gently separates your subject and the background. One easy way to get the look of a backlit background is to position your subject’s back towards the sun, and then shoot towards the light. Utilize a reflector, flash or even a nearby surface such as white walls to reflect light onto the shadows of your subject.
4 A hint at an interesting story
Making a cinematic image is all about creating an atmosphere. One method to achieve this is by telling the story. A few subtle touches of narrative can create an atmosphere.
With the right subject , all it takes is a captivating expression – maybe a pensive look away from the camera or a teardrop that catches the eye or a hopeful look toward the heavens. Props can help too. A simple cup can change the mood and suddenly, the subject isn’t just posing for photos, but rather enjoying an intimate moment of contemplation.
5 Be bold and stand out by using contrast
Cinematic images often show dramatic changes to contrast. This can be seen with certain portions of the image in dark shadows and other areas with bright lighting.
A way to accomplish this is the shooting process of moving from dark to light or from light to dark. This might involve placing your subject within under the shadow of an oak tree, and shooting against a backdrop which is brightly lit to ensure that the background blows out or choosing a space with a small amount of sunlight that can shine on your subject, while all the other space is encased in deep shadows. Begin looking for locations with high contrast such as this and you’ll see them all over the place.
6 Think foreground and midground and background
Scenes with an impression of depth them can appear very cinematic.
In particular framing in order to include out-of-focus details in the foreground can draw attention to the scene and increase that feeling of depth. Also, shooting through the scenery like an open space or even foliage can help give depth. Think of your scenes as a combination of background, foreground and midground Then, look for ways to differentiate them from each other.
7 Be aware of the weather
The weather has been utilized by cinematographers to aid in conveying the mood and atmosphere.
The rain can bring emotions of sadness and depression and can give scenes a jolly vibe. Naturally, the weather can also provide visually stunning pictures – think of the reflections at night of the neon lights that flood roads, or the final light of the sunset soaring through a city or a mysterious forest that is cloaked in fog. Photography in different conditions can create an cinematic feel of the setting and ambience.
8 Consider camera height
Camera height has an effect on how the subject will be perceived. The best directors of the past and today have utilized this technique in their films to portray the characters they portray in a specific way. The same concept is applicable to still images.
For example an angle of the camera that has the subject looking upwards from the bottom makes them appear strong and powerful, whereas angles that focus down on them could make them appear weak or weak. Photographing from the eye helps to build feelings of sympathy for the subject. This technique can be utilized to great advantage, especially when photographing children as it puts the viewer on the same level as the subject.
9 Go widescreen
If you’re looking to capture the cinematic look so why don’t you crop your image to an aspect ratio that is cinematic?
The majority of cameras use the 3:2 ratio. However, widescreen films are typically presented in a 16:9 format. Making the change to a different ratio is easy enough. In Lightroom you can grab the Crop tool, then click the Aspect Ratio dropdown in the options on the right side and select 16:9.
10 Cinematic color Grading
Color Grading can give your photos an edgy look, particularly in the case of adding subtle color tints to shadows and highlights.
The easiest method to accomplish this using Lightroom is to use the Profiles Panel, which lets you test different colour options. Explore different profiles such as the Artistic, Modern and Vintage profile sets to get a variety of looks. You can adjust the intensity of the look using an Amount slider.
To create custom colour shifts, consider making some unique adjustments to the white balance. Films tend to be tinted to blue and cyan, to give them a cool , slick feel you get similar results by moving the slider for temperature towards the left side to reduce the temperature of the colour. It is also possible to use the Split Toning panel or try out the colour channels available in the Tone Curve tool to create innovative color casts.
11 Create lens flare
It may appear to be an issue with the optics some photographers take great efforts to avoid, but lens flare is an excellent way to add your photographs a filmic look.
What you are losing in details and sharpness , you make up by the mood and ambience. Photographing in the sun is the best way to get lens flare while shooting (some photographers go more seriously by deliberately shining lights or directing mirrors towards the camera). It is also possible to create realistic flare when you post-process your images. This Lens Flare filter available in Photoshop (Filter OtherFilter/ Other Flare) provides a variety of flare effects you can select from, or create your own using the Brush tool, set up to Linear Light mode.