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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.
There is something else to consider about how your brain impacts your visual sense. Right now you are looking at a window on your computer screen and you're possibly paying attention to the image of me that's there, rambling on and on. Try this though. Don't take your eyes off me. I love this movie. Now try to tune into everything else that you can see within your field of view. Note that you can see lots of other things on the monitor itself. Beyond the edges of the screen you can see what's--I feel like a stewardess.
Beyond the edges of the screen, you can see what's next to and beside the monitor, and as you keep tuning into all of that that's there in your periphery, you realize that you have almost a 180-degree field of view. Now all of that has been there the whole time that you've been watching me and yet you were probably unaware of most of it. This is another way that your brain differs from your camera. While your eyes are picking up this very wide visual panorama, your brain is focusing your attention on one single part of it. This is great for basic survival.
You have a wide field of view, with the ability to not be distracted by all of that that's coming in. The problem is that none of this stops happening when you hold a camera in front of your face. If you were to point your camera at your computer screen right now and watch this video through your camera's viewfinder, your brain would still very likely focus your attention on me and exclude all of that extra stuff that's visible in the camera's viewfinder. Your camera though will capture the entire scene. How many times have you seen a snapshot like this? Now plainly whoever took this was aiming for a picture of that person, and their brain was focusing all of their attention on the person while they framed the shot, but the camera captured a much wider field of view than what they were paying attention to, resulting in this weak composition.
You're going to see some explicit practices for avoiding this, but for now it could be an interesting exercise to occasionally tune in to how much more field of view you may have beyond what you're paying attention to. If you start recognizing this difference, it will be easier for you to recognize the difference between the full scene that your camera is collecting and how your eye is focusing your attention within that scene.
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