The art of photography: Rules that doesn't exist

Photography is the real art. Subtlety in it is not less than in painting or music. Preparing for publication a number of articles on photography, I could not help but mention the composition. The feeling of composition is akin to a musical ear - it either exists, or it will have to be developed, compensating for lack of diligence and experience. Some photographers say that it is impossible to learn "aesthetic perception", others appeal to the theory of composition. But, as they say, hope for the "pro", but do not worry yourself. First of all, you will have to think a lot and be critical of yourself. Only in this way you can achieve a good result. Unlike painting, where you need talent to create a picture, in the current photo everyone can feel like a creator by clicking on a single button. A professional photographer differs from a beginner not only in the quality of the camera. You can do wonders with a "soapbox", and if you listen to my words, perhaps you will make a small step to professionalism.

The title of the first part of the article speaks volumes. There are no rules for composition, they can not exist in principle. Otherwise, art would not exist. The attitude of the viewer to photography is always subjective. The author should focus exclusively on his own perception. True creativity means the absence of boundaries, but at first try to be content with the following recommendations.

Scene Selection
An interesting and unusual story the author has the right to be proud of. Hunting for such stories takes a long time and sometimes turns into a mania. If you are one of those who always keep the camera handy, there's nothing to worry about. The main thing is always to look around and see the beauty in the most ordinary scenes.

An unprecedented space in the choice of the plot opens macro photography. A drop of water, an insect or a flower admires the viewer, who is not used to looking at small objects in detail.

Static subjects give the photographer plenty of time to assess the situation, prepare the camera and choose the appropriate shooting point. To study the composition it is worth practicing it on fixed objects.

Dynamic subjects cause much greater interest of photographers. Decisive in shooting is played by exposure. Long exposures give blurry pictures, emphasizing speed. Short exposure allows you to get clear photos expressing the strength, agility and grace of the moving model. When shooting dynamic scenes, you need to think quickly - a beautiful scene can never happen again. If you believe that such a survey is being made in vain, then you are very mistaken. The process of selecting the point of shooting is even more laborious than in the case of a static plot.

Selecting a survey point
Choosing a plot, do not be too lazy to estimate, why it is more profitable to shoot it. Go around the model, noting the background features. So you get rid of "bad" items, which can not be hidden in another way. A striking example - nondescript lampposts and power lines, spoiled for the history of photography is not one frame.

In most cases, shooting at close range makes it possible to transfer the main object brighter, emphasizing its details. Such a survey gives the effect of presence. If you can not get close to the model, the optical zoom will help out, but at high magnifications, the automation does not always successfully focus the camera on the subject. In addition, when the zoom is used, the image becomes jittery. The tripod will save you from such problems, the benefit is much less than the camera itself. But the digital zoom, which is equipped with the majority of cameras, should be perceived only as an advertising move by manufacturers of photographic equipment. Of course, he has his own merits, but - because of the implementation - purely theoretical. Optical zoom on inexpensive lenses significantly enhances aberrations. A digital magnification based on interpolation could approximate the subject without optical distortion, if not for one "but". The digital zoom is always turned on at the maximum optical value, and what aberrations the teleposition of the lens has given, such they will be. If the camera had not 10x optical but 40x, these aberrations would be horrible at 40x, much worse than 10x optics and 4x digits. But the photographer does not have a choice. Because in practice, digital zoom is almost useless.

Shooting from a long distance emphasizes the depth of space. But it should be remembered that in the frame fall secondary objects that distract attention and overload the composition. In general, this type is suitable for shooting landscapes, including urban landscapes. Panoramic shooting, taken from a long distance, looks natural, and it's much easier to "glue" the pictures together.

Most of the photos are done at eye level. It is from such a height that we look at the world, therefore, the pictures will look more familiar to the viewer. High shooting point makes it possible to cover a larger space, transferring space. The low point, on the contrary, allows to emphasize the dynamics and depth of the plot. At low shooting it is necessary to be especially cautious - many forms at such foreshortening are distorted. The face and figure of a person can change a lot, and not for the better.

Features of visual perception
The human eye is an accurate and complex instrument. To make a beautiful, natural snapshot, you need to have an idea of ​​exactly how the eye of the viewer will later analyze it. Despite the rather large angle of view, considering the surrounding world, we glide over it with a glance, gradually studying the details. First of all, the eye analyzes the contour lines, and then studies in more detail the most curved parts of the contour. With this effect, the concept of photogenic man is connected. People with sharp features look particularly impressive in the pictures, since the eye clings to every curve of the contour. Soft facial features make the eyes slide off the lines, causing interest in the model immediately disappears.

The size of the photo is much smaller than the original, so the standard scenes on them are unusual for perception. The view of the viewer, directed at one point, is able to cover the whole photo - and this is unnatural. To make the composition scale, you need to control the viewer's view.

We used to read from left to right and from top to bottom, and gravity emphasizes that the downward movement is natural. This strongly affects the perception. If the picture contains the same or similar objects, then the one that is located on the left will dominate. The subject at the top of the picture seems to be heavier than what is below. The vertical line seems longer than exactly the same horizontal.

Psychology of lines
"Photography" in Greek means "light". This reflects the technical features of the process. In terms of composition, the basis of photography is lines. They, along with tonality, convey the emotionality and dynamics of the plot, make the viewer think and feel.

Lines of force are the outlines of objects located in the picture. On black-and-white photographs, they are more pronounced, because our eyes are not distracted by a large number of colors. This effect is often used in artistic photography. It's not for nothing that professionals like to make black-and-white photographs.

With the help of lines, an experienced photographer is able to control the viewer's view, directing it to important details of the picture.

Each type of line makes its emotional coloring. Most often this is manifested at a subconscious level, but you will see that the influence of the lines is quite large. A straight line expresses activity and speed, but if it is horizontal, it creates an impression of peace and tranquility. An obvious example is the horizon line - it's hard to come up with something more static. Slightly curved lines convey lethargy, relaxation. This is how the banks of most reservoirs look. A strongly curved line makes the look stop and gives the composition a slowing effect. The spiral expresses tension and vitality. The "twisted" body of the model looks much more effective just due to spiral lines. Wavy lines set the rhythm of the picture. If they are parallel, the effect is enhanced by adding the composition to instability and fluidity. Try to analyze your pictures to make sure my words are correct.

Using diagonals allows you to make the picture unusual and attractive. The photo, like any rectangle, has two of them: ascending and descending.

The ascending diagonal (it is also called the major one) goes from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. The composition based on it causes positive emotions. Moving up the ascending diagonal is very easy and fast.

In the case of the descending (or minor) diagonal, the opposite is true. The movement upward along it expresses tension, and the downward movement is lightness.

It seems that a close person has gone forever, along the path leading away from the frame.

Equilibrium in the composition
Photography is like a scales. If the subject is located in the center of the shot, the composition will be balanced, but this is a too standard approach. We will go the other way. You can balance the composition in several ways.

If you are photographing a dynamic scene, use the reception of a developing movement. To do this, leave free space in front of the moving object. The more speed, the more space is required.

In portrait photography, the direction of the model's view is often used to achieve equilibrium. Calm, indifferent look requires little space, expressive - much more.

A separate conversation is a staged photo. There is time to experiment by adding different subjects to the frame. In photography, weight is replaced by volume or associations that cause some visual forms. A bicycle or a ball, which is in the frame, makes the viewer remember the childhood, warmly perceive the composition of the picture. There can be infinitely many such associations. Think about which subjects will remind the viewer of parents, first love, joyful and happy moments of life. With their help, you can not only balance the composition, but also convey different emotions.

"Golden Section" (rule of thirds)
Mathematicians always assert that their subject is the basis of the universe. Most are skeptical about such statements, but, strangely enough, mathematicians are in many ways right. For a long time artists and photographers have used the rule of thirds, sometimes even unconsciously. If two lines are drawn horizontally and vertically on the photo, each of which separates a third of the image, four lines of the "golden section" and four points of their intersection will be obtained. The zone located between these lines is perceived as the most tranquil, and the view primarily fixes objects located on the lines themselves and at the points of intersection.

Even in ancient Greece, scientists noticed that the view of the person viewing the image describes a trajectory similar to the Latin letter "Z". The view, analyzing the photo, just passes through the intersection points. The method of "golden section" is useful, but this is not the only way of arranging objects in a composition.

Geometric positioning
Like the "golden ratio", this rule has an exclusively recommendatory character. It has long been noted that the triangle present in the composition reinforces the impression produced by photography. Putting it on one of the vertices, you can give the composition an instability. On the contrary, the triangle standing on the base creates a feeling of immutability.

A circle or an oval adds a dynamic composition. Rectangle or square, on the contrary, make it absolutely static. Experiment with geometric shapes, the result can be quite interesting.

We cut off excess
Having chosen the subject of photography, do not forget that we are surrounded by a mass of objects, some of which will inevitably fall into the frame. The foreground is most often absent from the photographs of novice photographers. They fix their attention directly on the model. Nevertheless, minor foreground elements help to convey the depth of space.

Sometimes unsuccessful pictures are obtained due to the fact that we have two eyes, and the camera has one. Our "three-dimensional" vision easily separates the model from the background, whereas on a flat photo they merge. The most common example is the items "growing from the head of the model." Sculptors say that their task is to take a stone and cut off all unnecessary. And what about photographers worse? In the picture, too, there should be no foreign objects. Shooting close-ups will help get rid of them. If this method is unacceptable, try to hide the superfluous behind the subject of photography or, using a soft focus, blur the interfering objects, focusing on the necessary details of the picture. In this case, the aperture is the priority. On cameras without manual modes there is a kind of similarity - the "portrait" mode, the same priority of the aperture at the single most open its value. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to see this effect during shooting because of the small number of pixels on the display or in EVF (there are cameras that can do "digital zoom of the viewfinder", usually in the manual focus mode) - slightly helps ), and also because the display does not always display a picture taken with real shutter speed / aperture values. When shooting with flash on non-specular speakers, you almost always see on the display or in the viewfinder not what will result as a result, because to provide visibility in case of lack of illumination, the camera opens the aperture completely, and when shooting closes to the desired value.

If possible, go around the model and try to choose a better background. If you shoot outdoors, then you can take advantage of the most beautiful and accessible background - the sky, which adds color to the picture. The camera should be placed low and closely monitored so that this angle does not distort the shape of the model.

There are infinitely many Soviets for choosing a composition. I limited myself to small, so to speak, basics. In preparing the material, I did a little experiment. About five gigabytes of photos taken back in the time of reckless youth, were subjected to my harsh criticism and "conditional removal." As a result, there were 386 megabytes of images, which have at least some artistic value. So, my photographic efficiency was about 8%. It is for this reason that all the pictures cited as examples are made by non-professionals. You learned the basics of composition. Try now to look at your old photos differently and calculate your efficiency.



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