Composition: Contrast

Without contrast everything is the same . . . Understanding how to use contrast in your photographs will help you create stunning images, as contrast helps direct the viewer’s attention to the subject of the composition. There are two main types: Tonal contrast: whereby there is a significant difference between the lightest and darkest tones in the image, and Colour contrast: in which the different colours interact against each other, often using complementary colours, e.g. red against greens etc. to achieve the same effect. Complimenting these main two types are a range of others, including: Focus contrast: using depth of field effects, Shape contrast: organic contrasted against geometric lines and… Read More

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Composition: Figure to ground

Constrast. “Figure to ground” sounds rather a technical term, but all it really means is the contrast between the “figure” (subject) and the “ground” (background). For example, if the subject is white against a black background, the figure to ground relationship is very strong, it’s therefore extremely easy to distinguish the subject against the background. If however the subject and the background are both white or near white, the figure to ground relationship is then very weak, and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the subject from the background. It’s all about looking at the background first, and then the subject, and making sure there is good definition… Read More

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Composition: Simplicity and Minimalism

Less is more. Keeping it simple doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be boring, and it’s often said that less is more anyway, so it’s a case of choosing what to leave out of a composition, of reducing everything down to its bare essentials in order to create a stronger image. It can be very challenging learning how to find the right angle from which to capture a subject, to creatively use plenty of negative space and to start using more advanced lens techniques such as limited depth of field in order to isolate the subject from its background. It’s all about how little has to be in the… Read More

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Composition: Rule of thirds

Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules. Maybe not, particularly as rules, especially artistic rules, are there to be broken, but unfortunately you do have to know them before you can start breaking them. The Rule of Thirds seems such an obvious “rule”, the subject is aligned so that it’s off-center and thereby the image achieves better balance, and yet it’s surprising how often even the most experienced amateur photographer almost reluctantly uses it, choosing instead to apply their ever increasing knowledge of the technical aspects of the camera instead, as though a perfectly exposed image, a subject in sharp focus with no regard to background or positioning could ever… Read More

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Composition: Texture

Rough. Photographs are by definition flat and two dimensional, but with clever use of texture, capturing the play of light and shadow on the surface of an object, they can become alive and almost three dimensional. Texture is very dependent on the direction of the light present, for example, an object can look very different depending on the time of day it is captured, textures on horizontal surfaces are accentuated in the early mornings or evenings, the low sun casting long, dark shadows, whereas the same sun causes vertical surfaces such as walls and trees to appear flat and lifeless. Conversely a midday sun accentuates the textures on vertical surfaces… Read More

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