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Mikhail Zakharovich Tretyakov, the father of the Tretyakov brothers, the founders of the Tretyakov Gallery, came from a poor merchant family. In his spiritual testament, shortly before his death, he…

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A few years ago, unfortunately, the late Ksenia Sergeevna Egorova, a great connoisseur of the old West European masters, was already working on a scientific catalog of the Dutch and…

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WORKING WITH COMPOSITION

Artists who are engaged in painting or graphics, follow the rules of composition, or at least know when they decide to break them. The same goes for the best photographers.
But most wildlife photographers do not even have a basic artistic background. And therefore, the strict implementation of the rigid rules of composition leads to the fact that the photos look uninteresting and raise questions of such a plan as “why were you shooting?”, “What is interesting about it? Light? Pose?”, “What happened to the composition?”
Why is this happening? After all, the photographer can follow the rules clearly, but the viewer will not be a snapshot. Why some photos still work better than others and like the viewer.
There are several auxiliary ways to train our “vision.” To do this, you need to know what the artists have known for centuries: exactly how the human eye looks at the picture or, accordingly, now at the photo.
To attract and keep the attention of the person, the composition should have:
entry point
exit point
items that attract attention
balance between all elements
The eye needs a place to enter the photo. Sometimes this role is played by the main element, and sometimes by what leads to it. Artists add other elements besides the main element to draw attention to the desired part of the picture. Photographers with artistic inclinations also include them, as they independently build a photo.
Selecting items that lead to the image makes the photos more interesting. Triangles, diagonal lines and the balance between objects – it all works
What could be the elements of the entrance? They can be any, but they should definitely make the composition interesting. For example, in the wild, you can use the horizon line or the edge of the water; a cloud in the corner of the sky; a colorful tree that balances the other side of the frame; or perhaps another animal that attracts the gaze to the core element.
The photographer must take care that the entry points get into the composition and at the same time do not distract the viewer from the main element too quickly or, even worse, completely. For example, this can happen if you use a significantly brighter object. He will immediately take his eyes off the animal, which is removed.
Composite lines can be a row of trees, a coastline or a rocky hill in the background. Try to mentally draw with your eyes the lines that will “go through” inside, through the picture, up, down and out of the photo. While all this may help build a composition, you need to think about how distracting they can be. The background horizon, which cuts the element in half, can harm the composition by simply “taking away” the view from the photo.
If the viewer’s eyes are fixed in one place, he feels trapped and will very quickly lose interest. Perhaps you should try using a more distant element that will lead the viewer away after having carefully examined the image. For example, converging lines behind animals that lead the eye away.
The balance is obtained if the additional element is equal in the level of visual attraction of attention. To better understand how this works, first accept that each element of the image has a certain value or weight. This weight depends on a number of factors, including:
the element near the edge of the photo will have more weight than the one in the center;
a single item has more weight than one of the group;
the element in the foreground has less weight than in the background (provided that it has the same size in both cases);
elements with higher contrast than their surroundings attract more viewer attention;
colors have more or less weight depending on the shade.
The idea is to keep the viewer involved in the composition, creating an interesting design. There are many ways to achieve this, for example, by offering the eye a circular path, a long elegant curve, or perhaps the opposite and direct attraction of two or more well-balanced elements.
Right now you probably think it all sounds great. But between painting and photography, there is a big difference. The photographer has only what can offer him a natural picture.
And for a wildlife photographer, working is even harder – working with wild animals that you need to shoot, not draw, guided by your own invented composition.

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