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The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin

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Lesson 49. Use Scale

Scale is a powerful compositional tool and can be thought of in two ways. The first defines scale as a relationship between elements in the frame, and the second defines it in terms of the relationship of elements in the frame to the frame itself.

When we look at a photograph, we’re looking at a two-dimensional scene pulled from its context. Normally that context, out in the real world, gives us clues about the size of things. You know how tall a dog is because it’s standing beside a human being and you just know how big humans are. In other words, you have a frame of reference for comparison. To make that dog seem smaller, put him next to a really tall man, or to make him seem gigantic put him next to a really short one. ...

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