This discussion of Photography Composition encourages the use of basic compositional techniques to visually enhance your photographic presentations.
Good pictures are made, and people who are able to consistently take great shots do so by incorporating sound photography fundamentals while shooting interesting subjects with good compositional design.
How you apply these compositional tools to your image is more about your individual vision, it is not a means to dictate what and how you shoot. However good compositional design elements in your photos is something some inspired photographers may need help on, and it is something that every professional photographer is expected to deliver.
Good composition is not Rocket Science, and most of these techniques you may already have an inherent sense of, like avoid shooting every shot like it was a bull's eye target centered in your frame, or choosing a camera angle to remove some of the distracting background clutter from behind your subject.Just the action of paying attention to your famed image before you shoot and considering it's contents is enough to encourage you to make better choices about how to make the best of what you are shooting.
Like this shot of the moose, I was on a trail behind and off to the far left of the moose, and I was trying to shoot tighter to reduce some of the distracting elements of the background.
Randy Smith Photography © 2011. - Young Bull Moose
Photography Composition technique, Framing
Thinking I was not getting what I wanted I lowered the camera and surveyed the surroundings and looked for a way to blur the background to simplify the image. I saw the distant flowering blooms of Wild Celery and the nice setting sun light beaming through the trees. I chose a telephoto lens, and stepped farther away and aligned my subject against this more pleasing background, and waited until the moose was ready to look my direction.
While photographing nature there is always a chance that the subject will just walk off before you get the shot you want, but what do you want really from your photography, a stack of pictures that say, "See I saw a Moose", or an aesthetically pleasing image that you really enjoy looking at and is really worthy of framing on your wall or even has a little potential to make some money on.
Use some measure of selective reasoning in most every shot you take, good composition skills will help get more out of each shot you take. Artisans have been developing and paying attention to these techniques for thousands of years now, and you can use many of these same principals to enhance whatever you are taking pictures of, or your personal self expressive character.
Some photography composition concepts subconsciously help to guide the viewer's eye and interest within the scene, leading them to other parts of the image. They help you to avoid distractions that compete with the main subject. They hopefully encourage the viewer to perhaps look longer, and see more in the image, or provide places for the viewers attention to explore that helps complete the main theme of the shot. Your compositional elements don't have to be bold, just supportive.
Photography composition guidelines are not restrictive, because only you know want you want to say about the scene you are photographing. If your image is provocative you can use some of these rules to help make your point stronger.
For many people, good design sense might start to develop with an affinity for drawing when they were young. Studying the works of master painters is an excellent way to start seeing good compositional design principles, lighting and color harmony.
Randy Smith Photography © 2011.
Photography Composition techniques
Of the two images before you, chances are visually you prefer looking at the image on the right. It is not just a matter of enlargement, the cropping here has Removed visual distraction simplifying the image. Strong leading lines avoid the corners, and help keep your eyes away from them. The soft blue flowers of the background are Repeating Elements throughout the background and are present in the foreground as well. The primary subject is near the line of the Rule of Thirds which adds visual interest, rather then centering the subject in the frame. The picture has a clear sense of depth or Dimension which helps to represent a 3D environment drawing viewer interest into the photo, rather than just the appearance of a 2D picture.
Below are seven important techniques that will help you think about your photographic subjects and how to make the most of your surrounding elements. After all, a good photographic image must consider everything that exist within the framed shot.
Framing Composition elements help boarder or cradle your main subject, and focus attention on the main subjects.
Leading Lines can point to main points of interest in the image or also act like framing elements to help direct the eye back into the picture.
Leading Space is usually intensional space favoring a direction in front of a subjects face, the direction one is looking, body chest direction, or an objects direction of movement.
People often associate with patterns of Repeating Elements as an attraction, perhaps because it usually means that human hands as had something to do with that presence. We build everything using patterns, and most people are more interested in what other people have done, or are doing, and like to see some sense of order in things.
Rule of Thirds is a deviation from the bullseye approach of placing your main subject directly in the center of the image. When you do this, it also says that the environmental surroundings or even background of the image also plays some important roll in the over all picture. However even in the absence of a background of any kind, the Rule of Thirds is still a powerful design concept.
Background is not a traditional compositional rule of any sort really. Most of compositional elements of design come from artist, and every artist not only draws and paints the foreground, but they also paint and make decisions about the background as well. New photographers rarely start out thinking about the background much early on in their shooting experience as photographers, but if they endeavor to think about Photography as art, then they need to consider the whole picture, foreground, middle ground and background.
Dimension implies depth, and even though as photographers we take pictures of the three dimensional world, our two dimensional images rarely seem to do justice of expressing that depth. Really all you need to good control of foreground and background elements to recreate that depth, the help the viewers attention go into the image.
Randy Smith Photography © 2011.
Generally what good compositional elements do for your image is enhance the viewing pleasure of any subject you choose to shoot, by either directing attention of the viewer in the shot, and by removing visual distractions.
It only takes a moment or two to look around you to see if there is anyway you can make subtle improvements to find the best way to present that impression that caught your eye.
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And Story behind it!
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