Draw the viewer in with light

May 09, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

If you follow my blog you will know that I often state that the viewer's eyes are not just controlled by composition but also by focus, color, and light. The human eye will always go to the lighter part/s of an image. Therefore, lighter parts of the image attract more attention than darker parts of the image. You will also remember from all my writing on composition that we don't want the viewer's eyes to be led to the edges of the photograph because they will leave the photograph and start looking elsewhere. We want to keep the viewer looking at an image for as long as we can. So don't give the viewer any excuse to stop watching the image by placing light objects right on the edges.

Okay, please stop looking at this image. Yes, I am asking you to do what I just told you we never want to do. Close your eyes. Now before opening your eyes please pay attention to where your eyes go when you look at this image. Ready? Okay, open your eyes, paying attention to where your eyes go.

          If you are normal you will find that this image draws your eyes deep into the image. Your eyes hardly looked at the sides of the image. If you glanced at the darker areas of the image your eyes did not stay there for long and quickly returned to the lighter parts of the image. This is what I am talking about. Light can be used to draw the eyes into the image.

          Photographers have for years slightly darkened the edges around the image to create the phenomenon of drawing the viewer into the image. Be careful not to overdo it. If someone can quickly tell that you used a vignette (darker edges) it is too strong. In this image above, the light was naturally this way due to a clearing in the forest beyond the image.

          Control the light and you control the viewer's eyes. Use that power to draw your viewers into your images.


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