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Separate And Isolate

Lesson 19 from: Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

Separate And Isolate

Lesson 19 from: Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

19. Separate And Isolate

Chris compares a set of images to show how separation of subject and “ground” improves composition, and shows the different camera techniques and composition rules you can use to draw attention to your main subject.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction - Three Steps To Creative Photography


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 1: The Camera Points Both Ways


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 2: Letting Go Of Judgement


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 3: Detaching From Outcomes


Practicing Mindfulness In Photography


Finding The Visual Narrative


Behind-the-scenes: Naples


Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things


Lesson Info

Separate And Isolate

have you ever heard the phrase? Hiding in plain sight is a phrase that could be applied to a lot of photographs. I've seen where the subject becomes lost amongst a clutter of related but distracting objects. Take this image, for example, What's the subject here? The robin is obscured by the blurry foreground branch, while the top of the frame cuts off its tail and the background is just a clutter of dry twigs and patches of light and dark green is a pretty distracting seen, especially when compared to this image here, there is nothing to distract you from the subject. The foreground is clear and the background, um, messy. There's no chance of this subject. Hiding in plain sight. Separation and isolation are compositional tools that help draw attention to your subject while minimizing the visual impact of other objects in the scene. In this image, I've isolated the lines and patterns of the stripes by cropping tightly in on the zebra, removing all unrelated objects and framing the anima...

l to create a perfect symmetry. Here, the silhouetted man is isolated by the bright background light. The leading lines in central positioning draw you into the frame and to the subject and notice how the left foot is lifted, separated from the ground by a patch of light, which adds movement and energy to the scene. And here light is again the key element, although this time it's a lack of light. The dark underexposed background providing the perfect backdrop to isolate and separate the lighter toned eagle's head. High key imaging is a distinctive way of creating separation and isolation. The lack of detail in the negative space draws the eye to the subject. Undistracted now for this image. Timing was everything. I had to wait until all five birds heads were separated from the silhouetted foreground, which took longer than you may think. And finally, a quirky processing technique. Color separation, which has been used on this image to isolate the telephone box from the complex background. Six different techniques to separate and isolate your subject to create a more compelling visual narrative. Most photographs consist of a main subject, a supporting cast and a set. The purpose of composition is to enable the viewer to distinguish between them so your visual story stands out

Ratings and Reviews

Gary Hook

Wow, what a wonderful journey. I love the concept of telling a story with one's photos and as I go through past images, I'm seeing them in a much different perspective. That's the good news, The bad? The lost opportunities I never 'saw' before; however that is a good thing. There is so much to internalize with the material so that it can get out of the head and into the 'heart'. I also found the concept really helps me with composition, both in camera and post. Biggest take away, as Chris underscored in his closing, is to slooooow down, take the time and feel it. Don't be so quick to leave one scene as there remain other aspects, yet to be discovered. A great experience that I truly enjoyed Thank you


I loved this course - in particular the latter part of it in which he demonstrated how post processing lets you really tell the story of the image. Another fabulous course. Thanks Chris & thanks Creative Live.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering photographic composition and visual storytelling) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.

Student Work