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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.
You've probably spent most, if not all of your photographic life working with a rectangular frame. That means there's a good chance that you already have a feel for working with thirds, even if you never knew that that's what you were doing or didn't have any idea about the theory of thirds. Now that you do, now that we've looked at thirds, now we've analyzed it some and looked at some examples, I'd like you to go out and practice composing with thirds. Practice balancing the frame by dividing it into three equal parts, and seeing how you can place elements in different places to get a good balanced composition.
Because you do have some vocabulary to put to this idea now, you might learn some things or identify some things or get a deeper feeling for things than what you had when you were maybe just winging it based on experience. Now, your camera may have the ability to display a grid in the viewfinder that shows the frame evenly divided into thirds. If I were you I'd turned that off. The thing about thirds is it's just really not critical that you have them placed exactly mathematically perfectly. The thirds rule, the thirds idea, is something that can float around.
You can play with it a lot. You don't have to have things positioned just perfectly. And in fact, sometimes you will need some extra space on one end of the frame or another to get another element in, and if you are balancing everything out okay that will still work. So you don't have to nail those thirds lines just perfectly. So don't get too hung up on that. In fact, practice with that, practice with the looseness of thirds. See how a little bit of movement in one place or another can make a difference. Also, if you have the habit of maybe always placing your subject on the left side, go out and work explicitly on putting it on the right side, putting it in the center, trying to get out of your composition thirds comfort zone and play around with putting things in some different places.
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