outline - eric kim photography composition silhouette

OUTLINES: what makes an effective photography composition:

Figure to ground, separation, contrast

  • Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.
  • Abstract. Simple figure to ground composition. Man in silhouette in black in top left of frame against white sky.

It seems that all these techniques of figure to ground, separation, contrast in photography is in order to create an OUTLINE of your subject. To outline your subject is to highlight them and make them visible.

Man in silhouette. Street photograph at Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi, 2017 / ERIC KIM
Hanoi, 2017

For example this photo I shot in Hanoi of the man by the lake. The photograph is effective because I make an OUTLINE (red) of him against the background. It is the silhouette of his head and body outlined by the white water/lake:

  • Separation is clear Between the head of the man and the white water. This picture passes our “figure to ground” test.
  • See the separation between his head and the background.
  • Separation of the mans head from the black on top of the frame. Strong figure figure to ground.
  • 0-blur-figure-to-ground

Clarity and visibility is key.

The goal:

Make it easy for your viewer to see the main subject of your photograph.

For example, the upside of high contrast black and white, and silhouette subjects:

Simplicity and clarity

Our aesthetic ideals in photography:

Make photos as maximally clear and simple as possible.


Composition

In pursuit of making (greater) compositions!

Composition Studies

  1. Helmut Newton Photography Composition Studies
  2. W. Eugene Smith Composition Studies
  3. PDF: ERIC KIM Photography Composition Studies
  4. PDF: Josef Koudelka Photography Composition Studies
  5. PDF: Richard Avedon Photography Composition Studies
  6. PDF: Henri Cartier-Bresson Photography Composition Studies

Philosophy of Composition

Henri Cartier-Bresson Composition Simplified GIF
Henri Cartier-Bresson Composition Simplified

Aesthetics

Downtown LA, 2015 (shot on a Ricoh GR with the fixed-focal 28mm lens)

ERIC KIM X ANNETTE KIM X BAUHAUS REMIX

Master composition for yourself:

Photography Composition Concepts

Street Photography Composition Tips

Tokyo, 2017
Tokyo, 2017

Photography Composition Tips

Color Theory

Color wheel theory: Dynamic tension between opposing colors.
Color wheel theory: Dynamic tension between opposing colors. Image from CREATIVE EVERY DAY

Learn From the Masters of Composition

Sergio Larrain Compositions
Sergio Larrain Compositions

Dynamic Photography Composition 101

Leading lines. ERIC KIM DYNAMIC COMPOSITION
Leading lines. ERIC KIM DYNAMIC COMPOSITION

Painting Compositions

Vermeer

Dynamic Photography Composition Tips

Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM
Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM

Composition Theory

Dynamic low angle composition. Tokyo, 2011 by ERIC KIM
Dynamic low angle composition. Tokyo, 2011 by ERIC KIM

Take your composition to the next level:


Street Photography Composition 101

DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM
DYNAMIC REFLECTIONS. Man and three reflections by ERIC KIM

For distilled lessons on composition, read the free ebook: “The Street Photography Composition Manual.”

Further articles to improve your compositions in photography:

Composition Theory

Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM
Woman and door. Chiaroscuro. DYNAMIC LIGHT AND SHADOW. Hanoi, 2016 by ERIC KIM

Learn compositional theory:


Compositional lessons from the masters of art


Composition lectures


Composition pictures/grids

Eric Kim photography Bauhaus Piet Mondrian


Golden Diagonal Composition

golden diagonal composition
Golden Diagonal Composition / Kyoto Station, 2018

ERIC KIM workshops red hand

Unleash your creative potential:

2020:

2021:

Be notified of when new workshops are live here.


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