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Lighting Digital Field Guide by Brian McLernon

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Appendix A. Rules of Composition

Composition involves the conscious decision the photographer makes about where to place the objects in an image and the overall management of the scene within the frame. You want people to see your images and immediately get what your subject is and possibly how you felt about that subject. It is another form of communication on a very real level.

Ansel Adams used to speak highly of previsualization of the desired photograph and ultimately, the viewer's response, and said that image management determined whether what the photographer was trying to communicate was received as intended. By looking through the viewfinder and moving the camera around to see the relationship between the subject and the background and how it changes as you move, you begin to understand how the placement of objects is a powerful control of composition.

Along with the placement of objects in the frame, the photographer also must decide where the point of sharp focus will be and how deep it will be, or in other words, how much depth of field the image will contain. When viewing photographs, the eye tends to zero in on the items in sharp focus first, and this is usually where you want your subject to be. By learning to use the elements of composition and selective focus, photographers can create powerful images that communicate their inner feelings. Several camera techniques can be utilized to achieve this ideal.

This appendix explains the rules of composition. Granted, rules ...

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