The Ragged Border Project

(Originally posted March 19, 2013)

After some delays, the A to Z project continues!  This time we’re playing with ragged borders.

Since I wasn’t sure what pictures I wanted to try this treatment on, I opted for two of my favorite things to shoot – food and flowers!  I pulled a couple of shots from our molecular gastronomy family adventure at Moto in Chicago from a few years ago and a couple of simple flower shots I had on hand.  (And clearly I was feeling better after my cold if I was back to thinking about food again!)

This border technique looks and feels similar to the Black Rebate Border project from a couple of weeks ago, just inverted and a lot easier to do.  Even though there were fewer steps than with the Black Rebate Border, I didn’t have as much fun applying it.  Perhaps before I keep yammering on about the project, I should show some of the results…

Crab Cake at Moto - Chicago, IL
Moto’s Crab Cake
Cracker Jack at Moto - Chicago, IL
Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Moto Style

I thought the ragged border on some simple foot shots like this might be a good thing to try out to give the shots a little something (aside from a case of drooling over tasty food!).  In the end, the effect was nice, but nothing I went gaga over.  The food on the white plates running out of the frame and into a ragged edge with a white border really caused the effect to get lost.  That was an important lesson learned – this effect works best on something that has enough color contrast around the entire edge of the image’s frame and the expanded white border.  And I proved that theory on the next set of shots… the flowers.

Wet Red Gerbera Daisy Petals - Ragged Border
Red Gerbera
Pink Cornflower
Pink Cornflower

With the dark colors (for the gerbera) or the full frame of pink (for the cornflower) all the way around the frames, the ragged edge really stuck out against the white border.  Sure, I could’ve changed the border to a different color, but that white border reminds me of old prints or even old Polaroids for some reason, so I stuck with it.  The end results on the flower shots I think were much better than those on the food.  That’s not to say it won’t work with food shots – just not the ones I chose I happened to choose for this project.

So the verdict on this project was a mixed one.  It’s a technique I’ll probably try again, if for no other reason than to find the best way to use it or the best types of shots to use it on.  It’s certainly a simple technique to apply, so it’s a quick one to play around with.  I’m sure I’ll zero in on some good uses for this type of border.  And until I do, I’ll keep trying until I have my “Eureka!” moment.



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