Making Sense of Our 3D World Within the 2 Dimensions of the Photograph

While we have two eyes by which we perceive the world around us, the camera has only one: a single lens. As a result our photos are 2 dimensional displaying height and width, but no actual depth.

To imply a sense of depth and 3 dimensional space we need to employ one or more design elements within the frame. Line, as in the case of a river, fence or shoreline is a great examples. Rhythm and repetition of objects (e.g. a row of flowers) can also lead the viewer's eye through the frame, from front to back.

Variations in brightness and color, depth of field (DOF), angle of view and the inclusion of strong foreground, mid ground and background elements can also be employed to provide the illusion of 3-dimensional space within a photograph.

To help concentrate the viewer’s attention it’s helpful to distil the scene down to its essential elements. Our field of view is almost 180 degrees, but our focus of attention is much smaller. Having major focal points, strategically located throughout the frame, helps draw the viewer's attention to the scene's primary points of interest.

Finally there's the concept of a frame within a frame that, as you can see, has been employed to draw your attention, through the natural rock frame or window, to the important rock feature in the middle of the frame.

Carefully consider the way you design your images. Utilising one or more of the above detailed design elements will help to produce more interesting and visually dynamic images.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru´╗┐