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How to improve the composition of the photo and add depth

Photography is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world and our goal is to create for the viewer the illusion of immersion in the same three-dimensional world. There are many ways to achieve this, some of which we will cover in this article.
Object Framing
Take one of the shots and consider the technique using his example. In the case of one of the most photographed buildings in the world, there are not many things that will help create the effect of volume.
The difference in exposure between the foreground and background gives the picture a sense of depth, and a 23mm XF lens with f / 2 aperture exaggerates the distance between the gate and the building, only reinforcing the illusion. Thanks to a wide-angle lens (~ 35mm on a full-frame sensor) and competent framing, it was possible to create a feeling like a passage and people in the foreground are much larger than the Taj Mahal. In fact, it is much higher compared to these gates and tourists scurrying around, but their proximity to the camera changes perspective, helping to create an additional level of volume.
Light a specific part 
The second factor regarding the image above is the difference in exposure between the Taj Mahal and the elements in the foreground. By illuminating one part of the frame brighter than the other, you also create the illusion of depth. Our brain perceives the difference in light as a difference in distances, which can be used to our advantage. 

Although there are several things in the frame below, including visual guides and the difference in depth of field, one of the main elements that give it volume is how the light falls. A man sits in the foreground, fully lit by the rays of the sun passing between the houses. At the same time, other buildings and the street are hidden in the shade, and the second person turned into a silhouette because of the light in the background. Our brain is able to distinguish between distance and divide the scene into layers. By paying attention to differences in lighting and allowing the subject to be in a different light, you can effectively create a sense of depth.
Light direction 
Light and shadow play a huge role in determining the depth for the viewer and the examples above confirm this. An object flooded with light from the front may appear flat (unless the depth is created due to something else), but this can be corrected by lighting it from a different position (it is not necessary that this be artificial light). Illumination from the side and from the back greatly helps to create the illusion of volume.
In the image below, the light of the rising sun falls on both the object and the columns in front. The key to its bulk lies in the fact that light comes from one side, creating a shadow from the opposite. For us, this seems very natural, since we are used to seeing this every day. This difference in illumination is a sign of depth, even if we ourselves are not aware of it. Try to work with the object when the light falls from different sides. You will see that there are certain types of lighting that help to achieve greater depth.
Fill a piece of composition
Another great way to give the picture a sense of volume is to place something between the camera and the subject. From what we saw above, the front element can be used to effectively frame the object. However, it does not have to look like a frame. You can use everything from foliage to prisms. Try also to play with the depth of field by adjusting the appearance of these elements. As a result, you will get not only great depth, but also be able to cover unwanted parts of the frame.
As you can see from the example below, the presence of bamboo branches makes the photo much less flat. Having placed the elements in the foreground and, as in this case, allowing them to be defocused, we offer the viewer a hint in terms of the depth of the photographed scene. If you think the frame looks too flat, try placing something between the camera and the subject. This often helps a lot. 


Experiment with Depth of Field 
Depth of field is not only a tool that helps to cut an object from the background. It can be used to change the very perception of the picture. By allowing some things to be in focus and others to become blurry, you change their “visual weight”. This allows you to highlight certain things and improve the ratio of distances, especially if the blur coincides with a change in size. 

In this picture, only one of the people is in focus, which instantly separates him from everyone else. In addition, blurry shapes have different sizes, so we get visual clues about the distance to them.
Use a wide angle lens 
The way in which depth is displayed in a picture largely determines the selected lens. Since things closer to the camera seem bigger, a wide-angle lens is great for showing things from a close angle. Or, on the contrary, you can create an exaggerated sense of depth. Street photographers often talk about the special feeling of shooting with a 28mm or 35mm lens, as if it makes you come closer to the subject. The wider the angle, the stronger this effect. 

In this example, the ocean separates the stone coast from the city. However, the stones at the same time look much larger than the city. This situation is due to the fact that they are much closer to the camera. A similar effect can be achieved when shooting with a wide-angle lens. Experimenting with different focal lengths and their effect on the display of objects in the frame is another way to get an interesting sense of volume.

In this article, we looked at several ways to create the illusion of volume. What other ways do you use to add depth to your photos?

Posted by: Dylan Goldby

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