There’s a rule about having numbers or letters in a shot, “Your eyes will always go to the letters and numbers first to see what they say.”
I was planning on a personal project to have Wonder Woman breaking some binding chains on a set with some graffiti behind her. So I talked to a friend of mine, Greg, who is a painter on NCIS. I shared with him my idea, and he told me his son, Zach, is a graffiti artist. Great, let’s do this! Greg and Zach show up to my studio, and we discuss how it should look. Zach started lining it out, so the process begins:
I’m watching him do his thing, knowing what I want but also understanding it’s all subjective. He is after all an artist:
As I’m watching him create, I’m getting excited until I realize I can read the top but the bottom is kind of tough to read, and I know what it says:
My wife, Tricia, stops by the studio with my son, Connor, and both of them have a tough time reading the graffiti. I take a picture and start texting some friends, and no one is able to decipher the graffiti. Not even Vanelli! The top is no problem, but the second word just isn’t cutting it. I’m tired and have been looking at graffiti all night long, I’ll get some rest and come into it with some fresh eyes in the morning. Day 2, nope still not working. I showed it to some friends at the studio, no one can read it. It’s gotta go. If my subject is Wonder Woman breaking chains on a very cool set, everyone will be fixed on trying to read the graffiti which defeats the whole purpose of the shoot. Now here is the part that I need to learn from, I should have asked Zach to make the graffiti grungy but legible. Lesson learned.
Remember the rule, “Your eyes will always go to the letters and numbers first to see what they say.” If you can’t easily read the words, you’re spending too much time on the wrong part of the picture. No graffiti!Hope you love Wonder Woman. Had a great time shooting her, and your eyes are on the shot.
Thanks for your time reading this.
Mike is best known for his work on countless popular shows that are household names: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. His current projects are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Mike is a Trainer for KelbyOne, and Los Angeles Center of Photography. Mike is also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild.
You can view Mikes work at .