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Photography: Visual Themes - Focus & Design


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About this Lesson

  • Type: Video Tutorial
  • Length: 13:45
  • Media: Video/mp4
  • Use: Watch Online & Download
  • Access Period: Unrestricted
  • Download: MP4 (iPod compatible)
  • Size: 120 MB
  • Posted: 05/29/2009

This lesson is part of the following series:

Photographic Critique - Film & Digital (5 lessons, $40.59)

There are several different visual themes that come up time and time again in photography - light, color, focus, design/composition, etc. In this lesson, we introduce all of these visual themes and the proceed to cover two of them, focus and design/composition, in depth.

While every successful image has an area of sharp focus, many are characterized by selective focus, which allows some areas to be blurry while others are in sharp focus. This helps to draw attention to the main theme or subject, which is generally in focus. In capturing photographs with an eye towards focus, lens choice, which has a tremendous impact on the final image, is obviously critical. Brian will cover lens choice as it pertains to selective focus in different contexts (e.g. close-ups of people versus landscape images). Brian will also cover a lens' macros setting and explain what aperture settings should be used (relative to a lens' largest f-stop) to achieve maximum sharpness. This lesson will also show you how to focus on objects and use depth of field to enhance your main subject. It will also teach you when to keep the background in focus or out of focus in an image and how to think about and handle the differences between natural lighting and indoor studio lighting.

After teaching about Focus, Brian will turn his attentions to design and composition. Shape, lines, patterns and texture are all vital elements of composition. There are also a couple 'rules of thumb' that govern composition, which Brian will explain and demonstrate: the Rule of Odds and the Rule of Thirds.

To be successful, a photographer must learn how to properly critique photography in order to improve their image-making capabilities. This lesson is excerpted from the DVD, Learn to Critique Photography, which is an excellent resource for those looking to learn how to critique photography, both their own and that of others. This is a segment cut from the DVD and includes chapters 4 and 5 (covering focus and design).


About this Author

Brian Ratty
Brian Ratty
37 lessons

Brian Ratty, internationally known photographer, educator and founder of a multi-million-dollar communications company, hosts and writes many instructional DVDs, videos and audio programs on photography. Over the past twenty five years, he and his staff of writers and photographers have completed thousands of professional assignments around the world. Mr. Ratty is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography and holds an honorary Master of Science degree.


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