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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Leave the viewer guessing

Of course there's nothing inherently wrong with strong sunlight. It brings out the shadows and in some cases that's exactly what you want.

In the photo above the shadows help give the impression that the columns go on for a very long way. Of course you have the perspective of the actual columns themselves going off into the distance but the two foreground column shadows show that they seem to stretch behind the photographer as well.

Often the secret of a good composition is to leave the viewer guessing at what is outside the frame, as opposed to showing them everything. In this particular case you can see that the columns stretch for quite a long way foreward but you don't know how far because it's so dark at the end of the tunnel. Likewise the bottom left hand corner shows you that there are other posts next to the photographer but how far do they stretch behind? Do they even stretch behind at all or is the photographer (that would be me!) at the entrance to this tunnel?

By not giving anything away you make the picture more intriguing and thus more compelling. So before you stick everything into your composition try leaving things out and let the viewer use their imagination.

Just as an aside, does anybody have a clue what this is? I'll tell you where it is. It's in a little town called Wakkanai which is the northern most point in Japan - so close to Russia you can just about see it off the shore. And that's all the clues you get. What do you think?

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