Digital Photography Principles – Center of Interest

Good pictures are not created by chance. One has to be equipped with basic principles of composition. The arrangement of the elements in a picture can be influenced to catch the attention of the viewers. When taking a photo, you need to consider the position of each and every element in the picture.

One very important skill in photography is called “center of interest.” Centering involves placing the subject in the center of the frame. It is not necessarily that the subjects to be exactly centered. Some subjects which are centered can still use the rule of thirds.

Why use the principle of center of interest?

Here are the reasons why every photographer should apply “center of interest” in their photography work:

To draw attention to the subject

For you to draw attention in an effective way to the point of interest, try centering, especially when the composition is busy and when there are many similar objects that compete for attention. This is because eyes will always go straight to the center stage of the image. Centering different and strong subjects helps draw attention too. 
Also, when there are few items in the composition, you can place the object at the center of the image. If you want to take photographs of stand-alone objects without showing the background and foreground and the subject filling the frame, centering will focus on the subject itself and help toward the overall aesthetics of the final product.

To create a sense of space or size

In order to create a sense of space and size, centering can be used. When a subject surrounded by either smaller or larger objects is centered, the size of the subject is emphasized. For example, if a house photographed in the middle of a big pasture area, a sense of ‘smallness’ is created.


Centering can as well be used to create a sense of belonging to a space or a sense of loss. If you photograph a child surrounded by many toys, you create an atmosphere where the child belongs to space which is around them. Equally, if you photograph a child surrounded by toys and a small empty space around the child before the toys , a sense of loss and separation is created. 
In both pictures, the child is the center of attention. The blank space in the second image would be centered with the child as it becomes part of the center of attention and the barrier to the toys.

To overcome location difficulties

Some subjects or backgrounds/foregrounds will not allow you to compose according to the golden ratio or rule of thirds. In some instances, the only photograph you can take is a centered one.


In other cases, the background or foreground objects may be distracting or when an element to the side of subject intrudes on the image and the subject is not centered. When such events occur, you should center the subject. 

A centered subject commands more positive attention than a subject with a lamppost behind his/her head.

Related References

Quote – Found In Painting

I found things I could say with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way…things I had no words for.

— Georgia O’Keeffe

Poetry – THE EARTH AGE

On the caves of time
again they draw their lines
and circles. Earthmen. Born to prove
that they can reason and compute
a way to survive.

Now primitives in space,
they hunt with atom spears
the bright eye targets of the night,
and cry their mammoth victories
across the cosmic waste.

There they create anew
high mysteries and truths,
with satellites as shrines, and wire
the electronic brain they use
to command the light.

— Elizabeth Bartlett

Poetry – Trees

     I think that I shall never see
     A poem lovely as a tree.    

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
     Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

     A tree that looks at God all day,
     And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

     A tree that may in Summer wear
     A nest of robins in her hair;

     Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
     Who intimately lives with rain.

     Poems are made by fools like me,
     But only God can make a tree.

— Joyce Kilmer

Poetry – The Days of the Month

A short poem from a book of poems called “POEMS: Every Child Should Know” by “The What-Every-Child-Should-Know-Library”.  This is a song and memory aid for children, which I remember from my youth and which I thought was still useful today.

Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November;

February has twenty-eight alone.

All the rest have thirty-one,

Excepting leap-year—that’s the time

When February’s days are twenty-nine.


–By anonymous

Photography – How To Create Quality Landscape Photographs

Moraine Lake Sunrise Colorful Landscape
Moraine Lake Sunrise Colorful Landscape

How Can You Create Quality Landscape Photographs?

Today, landscape photography is very popular, perhaps more than ever before. If you think about it, you can probably remember seeing at least two landscape prints that you felt connected and drawn to. Photography can be an art form and more than just a pretty picture; Landscape photography is a message you want to convey to your audience, whether is it is the beauty, the devastation, a historical perspective or an emotion, it is your message.  Now, if you specialize in landscape photography, you may think that capturing a great image is simple. But, there’s more to it than simply aiming a camera and taking a photo. You need to pay attention to detail, and make sure that you have great lighting, and properly place the subject you are photographing. It’s also important that you have the right equipment to aid you in your pursuit of photography.

Black And White Landscape Photography

With black and white landscape photography capturing an amazing image is even more challenging than if you were taking color pictures. With color taken out of the equation, you are forced to focus on lighting and shadows more, which can be challenging. The composition is also very important; you need to pay attention to how you frame an image and look at edges, textures, and tones that you see. The goal is to get your camera to capture an image in black and white that looks like what your eye would see in color.

If you choose to try your hand at black and white photography, you should try to focus on capturing images of buildings and water, since these are the most common subjects for this type of photography. Pay attention to highlights and shadows, as well as the angle from which you take the picture. When photographing water, water can  provide an excellent contrast to trees and rocks, which helps to capture the eye of the viewer. Another great technique is to take photos of landmarks such as buildings and bridges to help draw the viewer in.

Color Landscape Photography

Paying close attention to contrast is essential with color landscape photography. While color gives an image a more vibrant look, it also makes it harder to achieve the contrast you need to create an interesting image. For example, if you are taking a picture of water under a blue sky, there probably won’t be enough contrast to interest people looking at the image. But, if you take a picture of water under a sunrise or sunset when the sky is bathed is reds and oranges, you are more likely to get a much better image. Remember that you need to take your time, set up properly, and take multiple pictures to ensure you have choices, that accidents destroy or cause to lose the composition of your picture.  

Position is important

As it happens, I have more than once found the best picture of a landscape or other subject was not the one I originally intended to take.  By taking multiple pictures from different positions, vertical angles, and lighting perspective, a person sometimes gets a far better picture or series of pictures than a carefully planned and choreographed approach.  

Lighting For Landscape Photography

A landscape photographer depends upon natural lighting rather than artificial lighting, which means you will have to adapt to your subject since you won’t be able to alter or control the lighting. Filters can be used to achieve some specific effects.  For best result use of a professional grade camera and tripod is recommended.  Other things to consider where lighting is a concerned are:

Desert Dune In Partial Shadow
Desert Dune In Partial Shadow

Use of shadow

Taking advantage of shadows can add a lot of character to our landscape shots. However, it will take some patience, and you will have to leverage what mother nature has to offer. In the case of a landscape photographer, we have to work with the shadows that are provided by the angle of the sun, other objects in the landscape, such as mountains, trees, and clouds. Whether only partial shading is involved or perhaps complete shading of one object in the non-shading of the remainder of the landscape, shadows can add a significant amount of contrast or pictures.

Forest With Golden Autumn Colors
Forest With Golden Autumn Colors

Use Of Seasonality

Seasonality, can add character in a number of ways. First, is the simple color of the changes that occur in certain parts of the world and fall and spring and winter and even the nature of what is there to offer such as snow cover. Also, the sons lighting tends to change across the season’s fall, and autumn may have yellow were sunlight then Midsummer. Working with what the seasons provide the same landscape can look stark if it happens to be a deciduous forest in winter, glossy bright this new snowfall warm hot and dry and Midsummer heat. So, there are reasons that even the same landscape character can change in just a few weeks and therefore, it doesn’t hurt to return to the same landscape multiple times to take advantage of the change in character.

Forest With Sunrise In Background
Forest With Sunrise In Background

Use Of Time

Time is also important to a landscape photographer, both from the perspective of the time of day; morning, noon, evening, night, dawn or dusk. But there is also another characteristic of time, which can be very useful when taking landscape pictures, which is time-lapse photography. Time-lapse photography provides a character to landscape photos in certain circumstances. In those instances where you have movement in the environment, such as running water, windblown leaves, branches waving in the wind, shadow movements across time, and others, time last photography can add character which no other approach can. Time-lapse photography is also a very good reason a high-quality camera and perhaps most of all a tripod.

Conclusion

With some planning and by honing your skills you can become a masterful landscape photographer  But, you have to remember that the small LCD screen you are looking at won’t show you everything that will show up in a final print. Always take more than one picture from different perspectives to provide more opportunity to have high-quality pictures to choose from and use or sale.  Just remember nobody is born a great photographer.  To achieve mastery takes, study,practice, a smidgen  of talent, a passion, and perseverance.