The Ultimate P52 | Week 5 | Layers

Week 5: Layers

This week we are going to focus on looking for layers within our compositions. Layers add depth and interest to a photo, and help direct our viewer’s eye. Layers also give viewers a reason to linger on a photo, holding our attention as we look through the different areas of the photo.

“Layers” as a concept can be taken literally, with layers of a flower, or a set of stairs. Finding scenes like this is a good way of starting off with this prompt, if you haven’t studied more complex scenes. 

However, more often, layers refers to a composition with a distinct foreground, middle, and background. A deep DOF is not required for this, and personally I often delineate the three layer by using a shallow depth of field, which throws the foreground and background out of focus. It’s up to you how you want to handle your scenes, and I’d encourage you to try multiple approaches, even within one location to determine the best end result. Shooting a vase of flowers against a blank wall, or a simple portrait on seamless would not be considered using layers even though there are technically two layers – we are looking for a minimum of three layers throughout the image, and more are welcome.

Some ways to add depth and layers in your images are to include framing elements such as windows and doors, which introduce and inside/outside perspective; the use of reflections; including repeating elements; and including objects at distinct intervals throughout the frame; or using leading lines (some of these concepts we will explore as individual weeks throughout the year, and they are not inherently necessary this week).. 

You can find natural layers in nature or outside, often in orchards or farms (which of course are actually man-made layers), a dune to beach to water transition, or a grass to tree to mountain type of transition. Rows of cars in a parking lot, including the ground, buildings, and sky, or looking down a street are also other options to consider for this week.

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with. As always, if you are on Instagram, please use the tag #lightandmagicp52 so I can see what you come up with.

Follow along with my Project 52 in 2023

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