Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dominant elements

I studied art in college under a gentleman named Harry Worst, a landscape painter who created his compositions in the studio, then would go into the field to find references for the details in his paintings. Harry preached two ideas to the fledgling artists in his flock. One was to build three distinct zones - foreground, middle ground and background - to establish depth. The other was to create a dominant element - one that commanded attention - with all other elements subordinate to it.

Your photographic compositions will benefit from the same advice. I've previously posted about building depth in your photos. Think of the dominant element as the "star" of your photograph and look for ways to make your star grab the attention of your viewer.

One way is to make your star physically larger than all other elements, as I've done with this tree in a cemetery. Another way is to set it apart is by framing it with other elements, as I've done with the lighthouse in the second photo. The monochrome of the woods and foreground shadows frame the sunlit area in which the lighthouse sits, drawing the viewer's eye. the lighthouse also sits on a diagonal line from top right to bottom left - placing your subject on either of the diagonals of a photo will naturally draw the eye of the viewer.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Photos © 2007 James Jordan.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Aunt Julia said...

you have an informative blog and i have pick up some tips on photography from reading your posts.

Keep up the good work.

March 17, 2007 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Jitesh said...

James, your tips are simple yet effective!

I cant wait to buy a tripod and start shooting pictures with my digicam.

June 18, 2007 at 11:10 AM  

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