Monday, October 10, 2011

Center of Interest

Welcome to another Hohenfels Volks post.

Today we’re going to discuss CENTER OF INTEREST. A strong CENTER OF INTEREST is a major feature of great art including painting, writing, and photography. Painters like the Old Dutch masters were experts at it, as were the photographic greats like Ansel Adams and George Hurrell. Rembrandt used it to great effect, as did Michelangelo. They knew where and how to use it to greatest effect.

CENTER OF INTEREST is the main idea of the picture you’re about to shoot. As such, it requires some thought and visualization.

CENTER OF INTEREST is another tool of composition. By placing your CENTER OF INTEREST where it will have the maximum impact, you can lead the viewer into and through your image. One thing to remember is that the CENTER OF INTEREST DOES NOT mean the center of the image.

The main question today is “What is my CENTER OF INTEREST?” Where should I place it? How should I weight it? How should I light it? How does it relate to the story of the image?

If you remember, there are guidelines for composition. Knowing these is the first step in identifying and placing your CENTER OF INTEREST. Your main subject is usually thought of as your CENTER OF INTEREST, although you may be shooting more than one subject. There should only be one CENTER OF INTEREST, as more than that can be confusing. In addition, when people are included in an image where they are not the CENTER OF INTEREST, they should not look directly at the camera. By having them look at the camera, you leave the viewer with doubts about your CENTER OF INTEREST. For impact you can include them, but have them looking at your CENTER OF INTEREST. This can be a powerful way to direct your viewer into your photo. People have a way of wanting to look where others are looking, so this trick will improve your images!

Here around Hohenfels, so many things can become a CENTER OF INTEREST for you. Rivers, mountains, hills, fields, castles, and palaces all make for great CENTERS OF INTEREST. You can make anything your CENTER OF INTEREST; you just have to identify it. The way you identify your CENTER OF INTEREST is through compositional tools, like placement, focus, DOF, and lighting.

Here’s a pic that shows what we're talking about.

A photo showing the wife watching a line of cars passing by. The cars, with their colors make a nice CENTER OF INTEREST. Notice that the wife is not looking toward the camera. Their angle and placement combined with her viewing of the cool cars tends to draw your gaze there, also.

Knowing how to visualize and compose an image with a strong CENTER OF INTEREST is a valuable tool. I hope that this little post has helped someone out there! We’ll be covering more about composition, lighting, and other artistic aspects of photography soon.

Remember; leave your comments and questions here and on our Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Your participation can make this a true gem!

Thanks to all of you, have a great day!

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