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Shooting Tips

Composition Tip: Avoid High Contrast Shifts

By Anthony Thurston on February 21st 2015

Composition is about more than just the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. While those rules are important, it is also important to understand what the elements in your scene are actually doing, and how they will effect the experience of the person viewing your image.


In this quick tip video from Adorama TV, photographer Bryan Peterson talks about an important mistake that many photographers – myself included – make often. That mistake is having high contrast shifts in your image that draw the viewers attention away from the subject of the image.

The video below takes place in my neck of the woods down at Silver Falls State Park, one of the most beautiful places I know of, and a waterfall lover’s heaven. Bryan shows you how a simple change in composition, removing a high contrast distraction, can take an ok photo, and make it a much better one (as far as viewer experience). Take a look…

What are your thoughts on this tip? Do you agree that the second shot was easier to view than the first? Leave a comment below and let us know!

[via Adorama TV]

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Terms: #Contrast

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    Great short video and great tips. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  2. Vince Arredondo

    Very nice!

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  3. norman tesch

    i found the trees to be more distracting than the sky. makes you wonder what the subject was the trees or the waterfall

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  4. Peter Nord

    Nice to see Brian looking healthy.

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  5. robert garfinkle

    I like this video – I learned something today…

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    • Brandon Dewey

      me too

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    • Brandon Dewey

      Bryan Peterson is a great teacher and full of great useful tips to improve your photography

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    • robert garfinkle

      Any tip I can get is an improvement –

      I was not conscious of competing contrasting elements, like the falls in the video, seemed to be highly contrasted against the background, yet I would have never thought of the competing sky through the tree’s above as a distraction…

      and yes, I would have recomposed in-camera vs. a photoshop / lightroom crop option… for sure…

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