4: Use Transitions
We have already discussed the ideas of Global vs Local Contrast and seen some examples of High and Low Contrast images. Where great light is not necessarily the main interest in an image, these contrasts are vital to hold a viewers interest. I believe interesting photographs contain transitions between different areas of contrast.
Overall Contrast determines the initial impact of the image – High Contrast tend to be a bit more WOW, whereas low contrast, more ethereal images tend to elicit a contemplative calming response.
Local Contrast tends to be more effective at isolating areas of note within a frame and can include shaping subjects with three dimensionality of enhancing the textural attributes of the surface.
The image below can demonstrate both Global and Local Contrasts and the Transitions between them.
The pool of water is luminous against a textured sand surface helping to isolate it and making the shape very well defined. The enhanced sand textures coming in from the bottom right help to further determine that transition between sand and water. The background has a pleasing pointy shape and enhances the source of light, but I’ve been careful to make it less contrasty than the foreground, which helps to preserve natural depth in the frame.
Transitions can be almost anything, between round shapes and smooth surfaces, light to dark, smooth to rough, pointy to rounded etc. In colour we also have the transitions between warm and cool as well. Start to look at images to determine if good use of transitions is evident and if so what the transitions are.