Creating Depth: Photography

Creating depth within your photographs is a technique that is often easier said then done.  Take a second and ponder this next statement.  Create a 3D view of your subject, so that,  your intended audience will be able to view the image on a 2D flat piece of paper. 

How then, are you supposed to compose an image that will show depth in a 2D format?   
To show the viewer 3D qualities within your photo you have to give them depth clues.  Depth clues are techniques you can use to show the viewer depth within a flat image. 

The first image in this post shows depth, but how?  To start, there are highlights and shadows.  When the human brain see highlights and shadows it help it to see light.  Light is directional, it creates shadows, are brains are smart enough to know this and therefore we can translate what we see.  In the second image with this post, I gave the tennis ball a little light but there is still something missing.

Do you notice each individual strip of wood that makes up the wood floor?  Well it creates lines, although these aren't the example of leading lines.  Leading lines can also give you clues that show depth.  In the second photo the lines don't really do this,  in the first photo however, I used the lines of the chair to create depth back to and away from the tennis ball.  The lines lead to my main subject but what is effective is how I chose to show the lines.  Depth Of Field (DoF), this clue is by far the most over used depth clue.

This is one clue that can be easily created without a lot of consideration for anything else.  Just adjust your aperture (f number) to something like f/2.8 and everything becomes a blur with the exception of your intended point of focus.  This technique is great although it is not fail proof.  Why?  If everything is out of focus in your image except for the main subject then you have effectively shrunk your working space to just the main subject.  You still have to show depth, but now you only have the small part of the frame that is in focus to show that the main subject has depth.  Because of this, I generally find an aperture of around f/4 to be wonderful at separating the subject just enough.  Just enough to have a usable background in which I can effectively show depth in other parts of the frame.  That was what was done in the first image.

There are also many other ways to show depth within photos as these examples are just a starting point.  I hope that everyone reads this will open there eyes and imagination and start to see the depth in your surroundings.  When you start looking at the world thinking in a 2D mindset, you will come up with all sorts of ideas and methods to show them from a 3D perspective. 

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