Street Photography – Advanced Composition Techniques, Part III: Creating an Illusion of Depth

This is my 3rd installment on this advanced composition techniques for street photography. I find writing these articles very challenging as there are very few references. We have seen a lot of very good street photographers taking wonderful images but if you asked them what makes their images compelling they would have a hard time synthesizing on what they did. For a beginner to this genre of photography it means there is a long learning curve. We are talking about taking a short cut but rather an accelerated learning process. With the little time I have in between the PMPE PhotoSafari Trips, I am trying to synthesize the thought process and take out the mystery of composition in street photography.

I cannot stress the fact that if you go to the street without some thoughts in your mind, you will be very disappointed at the end of the day. Street Photography involves a lot of thinking and pre-planning process…..just like any other genre of photography. That is why it is easy to take street photos but hard to master.

In this installment I am talking about creating an illusion of depth in your pictures. A 3D scene is projected onto a 2 dimension piece of paper or monitor. How do we create an illusion of depth? We are born with 2 eyes and this gives us stereo vision. We are able to convince our brains that what we see is in 3D and there is depth. Our brain also interprets when we see a smaller image even though the height of the image will be roughly the same, as further away. This gives a sense of perspective. So if you include this perspective element in your picture, it will give an illusion of depth and allows the viewer to transverse the height and breath of the image. It offers something for the viewer to spend a little more time to understand what you are trying to say visually….that I think is winning half the battle.

Taking away the "window displays". Please see Part II - "back to basics"

The visual flow forces the eye to travel from left to right. On its way it is natural for the eye to browse through the environment surrounding the image

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