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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.
Perspective can be interesting to work with because it's an immediately balancing thing. It's hard to really get an unbalanced image with perspective. However, when you're working with perspective there's something you need to bear in mind, and that is focal length. Now we've talked about this at a couple of other points in this course. As you go to a longer focal length, as you zoom in, the sense of depth in your scene will be compressed. As I stand here right now, looking down this row of trees, my eyes with their focal length, see a certain amount of distance between the trees and they see lines that are receding at a particular angle, but I can change that depending on my focal length.
Watch what happens if I go to my shortest, that is my widest angle focal length, and take a shot, I get this. Trees are spaced really far apart now. The lines are at a fairly steep extreme angle and the trees look pretty small. Nothing wrong with this image, but watch what happens now, if I go to my longest focal length and take a shot. I have not moved, my camera position is the same. I am simply choosing a longer focal length and now I get this, again, longer focal length means more depth compression or apparent depth compression.
So the trees seem like they're closer together. The perspective lines are not as steep. The trees look larger. Neither of these images is necessarily right or wrong, they're just simply different and they have a very different feel. The longer focal length with the depth compression makes for a cozier feeling. The wider angle makes for more exaggerated extreme lines, but smaller trees feeling. Whichever one is best or right simply depends on what you are trying to achieve for the atmosphere or mood that you want. So when you're working with perspective, it's critical that you remember that where you stand and the corresponding focal length that you use is going to give you a very different effect.
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