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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.
As I have mentioned many times during this course, the purpose of composition is to order a scene so that it makes sense to the viewer, so that they understand what your subject is. That inherently means that you are guiding their eye through the scene to your subject so that they know how to read it. If you have successfully taken a good composition then you have already successfully guided the viewer's eye. Nevertheless, it's not a bad idea to practice this process of really trying to drive their eye somewhere. A lot of scenes in the world have complexity in them, maybe have multiple subjects, maybe have more or less ambiguous subjects.
So I think a good way to practice guiding the viewer's eye is to find a scene like this where there is a very obvious subject, where there's no doubt what the subject is, and then work up different ways of guiding the viewer's eye to that subject. You can try it with geometry, as we have here. You can try it with tone. You can even try it with color. Really, find a simple subject and see all the ways that you can make it very clearly defined as the subject of an image. If you practice with an easy example like this, you will develop a kind of leading-lines vocabulary that you can then take into more complex situations.
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