Study paintings by the great painters…
Understanding light, composition, perspective, colour, contrast and depth in pictures is something that takes time. Well, time and analysis. I say that because there is whole set of elements in a picture that impact on the viewer… both obviously and sub-consciously. It is looking at these elements that helps your insight. The key to this is analysis.
In order to understand what you are looking at in a picture you want to be able to analyze it. You are looking to pinpoint the key elements that draw your eye into the shot and what causes you to keep looking at the picture.
Being able to analyze any picture is not something you can learn from one article. However, one piece of advice is invaluable. Look at the paintings of the old masters and great painters. Between the 13th century and the modern day great painters crystalized the essence of composition and the use of light. Today these rules help us to understand what makes a great picture in modern times. Many of these masters provide excellent examples against which we can model our own compositions. Studying the compositions and use of light by the great painters provides an inspiring background to our own photography. By picking up the rules of composition we can gradually, by appreciation and analysis, learn to divine the reasons behind what makes a picture great. With these lessons we can look to improving our own photogaphy.
Below is a video by a great photographer, Art Wolfe . He has done some wonderful work and has some great insights. Here he is talking about his personal journey, and his personal photographic treasures. He shows how his understanding of the works by the old masters and other artists has helped his photography. A worthwhile watch!
Intro by Art Wolfe from Art Wolfe on Vimeo.
Composition – Resource pages
Rule of Thirds