You can master photo composition by learning the key elements that make a sensational image.  This is true.  In order to truly improve your travel photography skills, you must practice.  You’ll hear me say this over and over again – practice, Practice and more PRACTICE will improve your photography skills like nothing else can.
Set aside time each day or each week to practice the elements of photo composition.  If you compare your images over a period of time, you’ll quickly notice how you’ve improved.
I always say, ‘yes, knowing and understanding exposure, aperture, and ISO is important, but knowing how to compose an image is the most important part of photography.’  In fact, I’m not a technical person at all.  I do understand the basic technical knowledge to use the manual setting on my camera; however, it’s the creative side of me that has led to success.
Don’t get hung up on the technical side of photography.  Know what you need to know, then let your creativity flourish.
Below are two short video animations.
One is a shadows exercise.  Like so many other elements of photo composition, shadows are everywhere.  As long as the sun shines, or a light switch is turned on, you’ll find some sort of shadow.  Right?
In the previous blog post, Key Elements of Photo Composition, I showed a couple of images showing how shadows can be used effectively to create a stunning photograph.  The dramatic shadows in the photos led to a strong composition.
Now, it’s your turn.
Take some time to visualise your photo composition.  Literally, close your eyes and imagine the photograph you want to capture. After you’ve visualised, create some photographs while incorporating shadows to create a strong composition.  Use the shadows you find to your advantage.  Create a strong contrast between light and dark.

The next animated video covers silhouettes.  Silhouettes are a splendid way to simplify your next image.

To create a silhouette, you need to make sure you use only available light like the sun or a lamp in your home.  Maybe try a torch or flashlight.  Take an exposure reading for the background and NOT the subject you are photographing.  When you expose for the background, you fool your camera and underexpose your main subject.  The result will be your subject will come out dark; hence, a silhouette is achieved.  Easy, right?

Your task is very simple.  Take a series of photographs.  Choose a simple background.  Incorporate silhouettes in each of the photos you capture.  Any colour background is suitable except black.  If you use a black background, your silhouette will not show in your photograph.

Red ads life, vitality and even drama.  Blue emotes a feeling of peace or calm.  Yellow and orange could add life to an otherwise colourless image.

Download a free PDF I prepared for you with additional examples of the use of silhouettes in photography.

After you practice capturing photographs with shadows and silhouettes, please feel free to share them with me via Twitter.  I’m easy to find.  Twitter = @MarkPaulda

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