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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.
When you start working with color in your compositions, you will continue to do the same thing you've been doing in black and white. You'll need to be sure you have a subject in a background. You'll want to have a balanced composition, you will need to try to go for a very simple image, and you'll need to think about point-of-view. But when you're working with color, you will have an additional set of considerations on top of those. First of all, as you add color, you need to think about what weight it has in your composition, particularly in an instance like this where we've got some color accents.
Do those bits of color throw the balance of the image off? And does that balance need to be corrected with something else? Just as we've been balancing different tones against each other, different kinds of geometry against each other, balancing tone against geometry. You can balance color against any of those other things. You can mix and match them. As you add color, you will probably need to think more about the simplicity question, because as we've said, color adds an extra layer of complexity to your image. It's a whole extra bit of stuff that the viewer has to process.
So you may need to go for an even simpler image. You may need to get in tighter. You may need to work harder to crop out extra extraneous stuff. Finally, you'll want to think about the atmospheric or emotional quality that color lends to your composition. A bunch of warmer tones are going to have a very different feel than a bunch of very cool tones, and so you want to think about how that affects the overall feel of the image, and if that impacts the composition in any way that needs to be adjusted for. Technically, there are some things that you need to think about once you start working with color.
Of course, you have to have a good white balance on your camera to accurately record color. So you'll need to consider that, something you've been able to ignore when working in black and white. But you'll also want to think about color tone that we've been working purely in tone up to this point, lightness and darkness, but colors have tones also. I've got these red bricks back here. They're a kind of light color, but there are a lot of different shades of red. There's lighter red, darker red, and I can control that through exposure, a little bit of over-exposure is going to lighten these up even more, under-exposure is going to deepen the color, make it more saturated, and that in turn can impact my composition.
Does a darker color have a heavier weight in my scene than a lighter color? And do I need more or less weight? Does that mean that I need one type of exposure or another? These are all things that you need to be balancing out, and of course once you start playing with exposure to adjust tone, you will possibly be introducing other troubles into your image. If I am overexposing to lighten the color tone in my image, that might mean that highlights somewhere in the scene are going over-exposed and blown out. So these are all things that I have to balance, all things that I have to consider and weigh against each other as I start introducing color into my compositions.
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