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Saturday, May 1, 2004

Compose Like The Pros

Practice these 10 tips for creating stronger and more dramatic photographs

compose like the pros 4) Changing Perspective
We're all used to zooming in and out to include some objects in our images while excluding others. Sometimes, though, we have our foreground right, but the background shows too much or too little of what we want. Zooming alone won't work.

Distance and focal length change a subject's size and its relationship to its background. Increase the background by backing up and use a telephoto to maintain the relative size of your subject in the frame. Decrease the size of the background by getting closer and using a more wide-angle focal length.—ZS

compose like the pros 5) Framing The Scene
Create a frame for your main subject by positioning an existing object in front of it. Natural frames include trees, cacti and rock arches; man-made structures include gateways, doorways, the arch of a bridge or windows. (See David Muench's article in this issue for some dramatic examples.) Framing the scene helps the composition in several ways. It draws the viewer's eye to your subject and away from the otherwise empty area around it. A well-composed frame has some aspect of shape, color, contrast or natural context that complements the main subject.—ZS

compose like the pros
Essential Gear
Everyone knows how a tripod helps to maintain sharpness, but it's also a key piece of gear when composing a photograph. The tripod locks your camera in place so you can critically compare the scene with the composition in the viewfinder. With a digital camera, this is even more helpful, since you can review the shot on the LCD and make adjustments immediately based on that review.

6) Focusing On Color
Bright colors demand our attention, and when used in a photograph, they can provide a striking design element. It could be the bright stamen of a lily or the saturated color of a sunset. Such strong hues can be used as the heart of a successful composition.

compose like the pros The key is to complement such bright colors with darker or more muted colors within the image. This creates a contrast that makes the bright color stand out. Darker tones, either in the form of a shadow or a silhouetted foreground subject, can help lead the eye to a colorful segment of the frame.

 Bracketing your exposure at slight differences will change the appearance of color in your images.—IP










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