Side Mission: Learning from examples

Before I started on my own photography missions, I needed to be able to identify some of the key elements of photography in other pictures. I decided to use a video of some of the top moments in James Bond movies:

The first still I analyzed was at 12 seconds into the video. I thought it was a great example of depth, contrast, and balance, as well as subtle but effective use of foreground/background.


I felt that the picture had depth because there is Bond in the front, as well as two men behind him with interesting tire. If you look closely, you can also see a man in the background with a blurred painting as well. There are multiple layers to this photo, and it’s done in a subtle way. There is also interesting contrast in the photo. The black suits with the white shirts show contrast, and then the golden vest with shiny buttons on the man in the right side of the photo add to it. The background is also noticeably lighter, considering the black suits. This picture follows the rule of thirds almost to a tee. Although Bond is clearly the center of the photo, there is a gentleman on the left third of the photo with the pocket square contrasting the black suit. There is also a man on the right side of the photo with shiny buttons drawing the eye towards him. For many of the same reasons as depth, the background/foreground combination is effective. There is a lot going on in the background, but it adds to the foreground.

The second still was from Pierce Brosnan’s rendition of Bond. I felt that there was good use of perspective and lighting to set the mood of the scene. It also captures the moment between the two effectively :

The still does a good job of showing you Bond from the perspective of the woman. It captures how Bond is looking at her, with a mix of suspicion and interest. The lighting is dim with the lamp right behind Brosnan in the photo. It illuminates the expressions on his face, but also contrasts with the side of his face opposite the lamp. You can tell that this shot was well thought out, because everything about the photo seeks to capture the intimate moment between the two of them.

The final still I analyzed from the video was a fantastic example of balance, foreground/background, and contrast:


This photo shows effective use of balance, because there’s something interesting going on in each third of the photo. In the middle there is Bond getting into the car, and to his left is a group of tourists gathering on a table. To his right is a group of people sitting near the shore. This ties into the use of an interesting foreground / background combination. The background brings life to the photo, and yet it doesn’t take away from the foreground either. This is supplemented by the contrast of the white car to the rest of the colorful shot. All of the points I analyzed here contribute to each other to make the still even better.

Now that I’ve warmed up my analytical skills, it’s time to get to work on my own photography missions.

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