of the machine shop to sidelight the machines, shadows
are cast at their sides and occupied or positive space
appears three-dimensional; however, since all the
machines, both near and far, are now lighted the same,
you do not create a sense of depth, and empty or negative
space appears flat. For the best picture of the machine
shop, you should light the machines in a way that the
three-dimensional form is represented, while creating a
sense of depth by reducing the intensity of illumination
toward the back of the shop.
Lighting is also an important creative element of
composition. By controlling the light and directing it
where you want it, you can subdue objects or distracting
elements in the scene to give more emphasis to the main
point of interest.
For good picture composition, you must develop an
awareness of how changes in lighting can affect the
appearance of things around you. Light and shadows can
be used in composition to create mood, to draw attention
to an area, to modify or distort shape, or to bring out
form and texture in the subject.
Shadows are a key to apparent form in
photographs. Without shadows, the subject records
without form, curvature, or texture, appearing flat and
lifeless. This does not mean that shadows must be
harsh and black to achieve the effects of form,
curvature, and texture. They may be soft, yet of
sufficient density to show the most delicate roundness
and form. Generally, harsh, black shadows are
undesirable in a photograph due to the loss of detail
in them. From a compositional standpoint, black
shadows can be very useful in balancing a scene and
directing attention to the point of interest. Harsh
shadows can also be excellent for emphasizing texture
and form, for creating interesting patterns, and for
directing attention to the main point of interest;
however, the same elements can also obscure detail
and reduce form. When the lighting is harsh, such as
on a clear, sunny day, shadows have sharply defined
edges and are probably very dark, sometimes to the
point that they appear stronger than the primary
subject and attract attention to themselves.
Texture helps to emphasize the features and details
in a photograph. By capturing "texture" of objects being
photographed, you can create form.
When people observe a soft, furry object or a
smooth, shining surface, they have a strong urge to
touch it. You can provide much of the pleasure people
get from the feel of touching such objects by rendering
texture in your pictures. Texture can be used to give
realism and character to a picture and may in itself be
the subject of a photograph. When texture is used as
a subordinate element within the picture, it lends
strength to the main idea in the photograph. It usually
takes just a little different lighting or a slight change
in camera position to improve the rendering of texture
in a picture. When an area in a photograph shows rich
texture, the textured area usually creates a form or
shape; therefore, it should be considered in planning
the photograph (fig. 5-16).
Tone is probably the most intangible element of
composition. Tone may consist of shadings from
white-to-gray-to-black, or it may consist of darks
against lights with little or no grays. The use of dark
areas against light areas is a common method of adding
the feeling of a third dimension to a two-dimensional
black-and-white picture. The interaction of light against
dark shades in varying degrees helps to set the mood of
a composition. A picture consisting of dark or somber
shades conveys mystery, intrigue, or sadness. When the
tones are mostly light and airy, the picture portrays
lightness, joy, or airiness.
Contrast in photographic composition is an
effective means of directing the viewer's attention to the
center of interest. Positioning of subject elements to
create contrast gives them added emphasis and directs
the viewer's attention.
When we speak of contrast as it relates to
composition, we are referring to both tonal contrast, as
in black-and-white photography, and color contrast as it
relates to color photography. In black-and-white
photography, contrast is the difference in subject tones
from white-to-gray-to-black or from the lightest tone to
the darkest tone. In color photography different colors
create contrast.

Basic Photography Course

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