Composition Week, Day 7: Contrast

This image illustrates several examples of contrast

[Editors Note: This article concludes our weeklong series on composition by Rob Knight. Wo hope you enjoyed it, and if you have ideas for a weeklong series of articles, we’d love to hear about it. Click on the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page to send us an email.]

I’m sure you can find a few hundred articles about how to add contrast to your images in Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. That is to adjust the degree of difference between the tones in your image. The contrast I’m referring to is between different elements in your photo. Look for elements that are strikingly different from one another to add tension and interest to your composition.

A basic example of this would be a person dressed in black against a white background. The difference between the foreground and the background highlights the subject and makes it stand out from the background. As in previous articles, the fun begins when you think beyond the obvious.

Train yourself to think about other kinds of contrast. Soft/hard, rough/smooth, new/old, straight/curved, or large/small, just to name a few. You can often find multiple forms of contrast in a single frame. In the photo above, the organic lines of the vine contrast the straight lines of the staircase behind it. The bright colors of the flowers and vine also contrast the neutral colors of the background.

Thanks for joining me for composition week! Most photographs have a combination of the “rules” I talked about this week, so don’t get too hung up on one or the other. Spend a little time with each one and you’ll not only be making better photos, but you’ll know WHY your photos are better!


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This post was written by:

- who has written 23 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Rob Knight is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop Lightroom and a two-time Photoshop Guru finalist. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Rob loves to travel and share his passion for photography with others. You can follow Rob on twitter @RobKnightPhoto, and find out about Rob's classes and photo workshops at Rob Knight Photography

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