Visual Mass is a principle of photography that says certain things will attract your eye more than others. I did prove that with my examination of the photos of others. The key question I still have is, did my eye go where the photographer wanted it to go, or did my eye go where it went because I am predisposed to look for certain things? I am honestly not sure of the answer to that question, but I do know that some photographers probably did a better job of using this principle, than others.
I know that in the past I have been guilty of totally ignoring this fact. I know this because I also went through some of my past photos in my photo archives. An eye-opening exercise. It's why I like going through this text so much as a part of the 52 week project--because as a photographer, you never stop learning, and because I want to offer my clients the best photo experience I can.
This week I walked into a field with the intent of taking photos of horses, but instead had a barn cat follow me, and decided he was a good candidate to help me explore and explain visual mass a bit more.
I used a hand-held off camera flash to throw light to Ricky's right (camera left) just above his head, because I did not want this entire frame to be bathed in light. It was 6:45 pm and the sun was headed to the horizon. Hopefully, your eye is drawn to Ricky's right ear, which leads you to his eyes. I have placed greater weight on these elements by throwing some light on them, and so I've created visual mass, hopefully, as part of the viewing experience. Ricky is a very personable cat that has been living among his horse pals for many years.
Let me use one more example to illustrate visual mass. The photo below is straight out of camera with nothing done to it except to change its size. If you know me and have followed the goings on of my dogs, you know this is Piper, the Kitty Manager, and he is making sure that Barney will not be disturbed while napping. He watches over all of the kitties here, whether they like it or not. There is quite a bit to see here. There are many elements vying for your attention, some of them that lend themselves to the story, and some of them that are in the way of the story. Where does your eye go first? second? third? There are a few ways to tell this story and send perhaps a clearer message.
How about a not so drastic crop and maybe a clean up?
It was kind of fun to look at photos and challenge my eye to decide where it would land first. Why not try it yourself and see where your eye tends to fall, or what you tend to look for when viewing photos? It will help out in the long run, to make you more aware of all the elements that appear visually in your photos. I know this week has been a great help to me in examining some of the ruts I get stuck in with my photos.
Now to see what others have learned and done with "visual mass" this week, start your trip around the blog circle with Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay area. See you next week!