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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.
Hopefully, by now you've gotten the chance to start thinking about light a little bit differently and to understand that light is where it all starts. But shadow is pretty good also. Light and shadow are really the fundamental building blocks of photography, especially black and white photography, and you don't want to ignore dark spaces and shadows. Here, we've got a wonderfully balanced and framed image, because of all of the negative space in this scene. Very often when you are out looking for subject matter, keep your eyes open for tonal differences like this, an area of deep shadow and bright light, you may be able to turn that into an interesting composition. Or if you are shooting something and really have your eyes going and are seeing well, take note of the shadows in the image, don't try to get rid of them, instead try to work with them.
It's very easy with the incredible lowlight capabilities of today's digital cameras to think, Wow! Look I can pull detail out of every single shadow that's here. If you do that, you're taking away a lot of your compositional power. Yes, sometimes there will be details that you need to see for your shot to make sense or to stay balanced, but don't immediately go for, Uh-oh! I don't have detail in that shadow. I need to overexpose to pull it out. Play with the shadows, work with them as balancing elements, work with them as framing elements, work with them as you would any other compositional device.
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