Photo Haiga: Part 1

Photo haiga are a great way to start making haiga. Almost everyone has a camera and most people have access to a computer and even rudimentary photo editing software can be downloaded for free these days. Please remember that the aim of the following is to get the photo to accommodate the haiku rather than just to make the photo look better.

Choosing the photo.

You want one with decent composition and one that delivers the third thing to your haiku or possibly you have a photo you love and have written a haiku for. This is the weaker of two images I have written this haiku to accompany. I used this in my previous posts on how to use photo editing software, so you may be familiar with it. We will meet the better one later right now I want to show you how to save a mediocre image.

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Cropping this is the first thing we need to do:

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This is not great. It is too tight and kind of claustrophobic. At a push this could work but there are most likely better options. Most photographs have more than one crop that works. If you decided to go with this one, you will need to clone out the remains of the dead flower at the bottom but given this is such a large area, the result may not be great.

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See how you eye doesn’t wander downward any longer? It is still not a great picture though because my cloning here stinks.  We will try a second, different crop:

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A still cramped but better composition. That dead flower remains a real problem though.

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This third crop is an improvement, clear and sharp but compositionally awkward and it remains visually unsatisfying. The eye now bounces uncomfortable between the flower and the green area to the left of the picture, plus that flaccid dead flower is still spoiling things. One way to fix this would be to turn the background black and white and just have the pop of yellow. This would simplify the image and heighten the visual metaphor. To do this in an imaging program, you need to duplicate the photo layer and then turn the top layer black and white:

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Then, being very careful, use the eraser tool to remove the top layer in the area of the flower. You may need to adjust brush size a bit during this procedure to get all the little bits.

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Be careful to leave that annoying bud or any feature which is bothersome or disruptive, black and white. Merge the layers and now it is time to add the text.

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Another option would be to select the flower and cut and paste it onto a painted background:

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Then desaturate the background:

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And carefully neaten the flower by removing what it left of the original background using the eraser tool:

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So you get this:

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You could merge and add text now or you could run it through the brush strokes or painting filters available in most programs:

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It looks better than the original and text placement will be so much easier. We will cover text and all thing text related, in my next post.

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