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Composition can make an interesting subject bland or make an ordinary subject appear beautiful. In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the concepts of composition, from basics such as the rule of thirds to more advanced topics such as the way the eye travels through a photo.
The course addresses how the camera differs from the eye and introduces composition fundamentals, such as balance and point of view. Ben also examines the importance of geometry, light, and color in composition, and looks at how composition can be improved with a variety of post-production techniques. Interspersed throughout the course are workshop sessions that capture the creative energy of a group of photography students; shooting assignments and exercises; and analyses of the work of photographers Paul Taggart and Connie Imboden.
One of the things that I really like about working with lynda.com is the production value. A lot of time and effort and thought goes on behind the camera to create the image that you're seeing right now, and the people behind the camera are very skilled photographers and videographers. That means that you can learn a lot about composition just from looking at the actual framing that the lynda crew has come up with for all of the scenes in this course. This scene is a great example. The crew spent a lot of time organizing this set based on strong compositional ideas, so let's just take a look at what they came up with.
Let's start with the lines in this image. The curving line of the tops of these monitors leads you right into me. Why wouldn't I like that? These wonderful diagonal lines meanwhile, in the background, along the ceiling, they guide you the rest of the way into the image and back out of the frame. Note the cropping of the ceiling. There are three rows of lights visible. The rule of threes in composition can be very important. If you have a repeating pattern, three is sometimes kind of a sweet spot for how many of those repeating elements you should show.
If you show only two of the repeating element, then it doesn't really look like a pattern, while more than three can be too compositionally busy. So we've got three rows of lights back there. These are further reinforced by the diagonal line of that far wall. This is a fairly monochromatic image-- black-and-white computers on white tables with white walls--so the accent of this wood finished railing going behind the monitors really breaks up the shot and provides a nice highlight, both because of its color and its position in the frame.
Take note of the position of that wood railing. It cuts just below the top of the monitors. If it had intersected with the top of the monitors, well there could have been a less satisfying intersection of lines. More importantly, it could have created some confusion about the depth in the scene. Finally, note where they've put me. I'm sitting here on the boundary of the leftmost third, and I am balanced out by those monitors over there, which have a fair amount of compositional weight because of their strong rectangular shape and the black bezels and their repetition.
If you haven't noticed already, go back and take a look at the movie that you've already watched. This time take an eye for how they're composed.
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