Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Photographic seeing

What do you look at when you compose an image? There are millions of things to consider but you've often only got a split second to calculate whether the composition is going to work or not. When you distil it down to its simplest components there are a few key things to consider, which are often not covered very well in books and articles about learning photography.

Firstly you should have an idea of why you are taking the image. The clearer the intention behind the image is in your mind the better the shot will be. Photography is about framing a section of reality, it's about deciding what to leave in and what to exclude.

Secondly at the same time you need to look at how you can make the most of lighting to enhance the image. Beautiful, interesting lighting that compliments your subject is essential to creating striking images.

Thirdly, and this is the one that often gets left out, look at the structures within the frame in terms of their relative values. These values can be the distribution of light and dark, the 'skeleton" of the photograph, strong geometric shapes with a visual pull, colours interacting or specific subjects that attract our eye, such as faces and text.

The balance between the elements with visual pull and the overall structure has to be right in order for the image to work.

I plan to discuss these three key components of photographic seeing in more detail in the future. In the meantime don't hesitate to drop me a line if you've got any questions.

Cheers,

Paul
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