Understanding Visual energy

Understanding the visual energy in a frame will dramatically change the look and feel of your wildlife images.

It is important to, when looking at a particular scene, understand how the energy is flowing and how you would like your viewers eyes to move through the frame.

There are a couple of ways that you can enhance the visual energy in an image, making it more interesting and also enhancing the visual mass in the frame.

Portrait Orientation

One of the deciding factors in choosing between a portrait or landscape orientation is the dimensions of the subject itself.  When you look at a subject or scene, how are your eyes moving through the frame?

Think of a Giraffe...  When you look at a Giraffe, do your eyes moves vertically or horizontally?  Because of their unusual build and long necks, your eyes naturally move vertically through the frame right?  So it makes sense to turn your camera into portrait orientation to enhance this visual energy.

visual energy

Portraits of wildlife and people, are considered to be generally close ups, where you basically fill your frame with the person/animals face without including too much background.

visual energy

 

visual energy

visual energy

Vertical subjects like tall trees, buildings and even waterfalls may also require a portrait orientation to be captured in their entirety.

visual energy

visual energy

A portrait orientation exaggerates the upright extension of subjects in a photograph. But a portrait orientation also speaks to our associations with tall subjects, emphasizing a sense of independence, wonder, modernity, and even superiority or unease.

Landscape orientation

Landscape orientation provides more room for incorporating additional elements into a photograph.

This is particularly useful in genres of photography like Landscapes or animal in environment type of images, where the setting of the photograph is as important as the subject.

visual energy

visual energy

visual energy

Landscape orientation places extra emphasis on space, illustrating ease and immersion.

By shooting in landscape orientation you can also emphasise movement across your frame, for example an animal walking across the road.

visual energy

visual energyvisual energy

So next time when you are out in the field, looking at a particular scene, take a second to think about how the visual energy flows in the scene and how you would like your viewers eyes to move through the frame.

Till next time...

Johan

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