Although to be a good one picture, there are many factors. One of the leading is good composition. But can we define “good”? Are there any specific rules to guide us? Some professional photographers will tell you that not everything is rules and sometimes seeking the artistic side you will have to break the rules. Sure that’s true but it’s a little extra and I will talk to you about that in another topic. Now I want to focus your attention on several key points in composition that is really important to keep in mind when you go out with your camera.
It is very important for a good photography to have some charge, power and mood. Because after the entire goal is to tell a story without words, and that’s possible with good composition. First try to see the frame in your head, that way you will build habits and will stop to just pressing the shutter.
We all love to break the rules. BUT… Maybe before we do that, it’s better to know something about them. Because knowing them will allow us to experiment, not just shooting on the principle of trial and error, but in our desire to not follow the rules we will know how exactly to approach and to achieve the effect that we want. Sometimes one or two rules don’t slow us or ruin our creativity but will expand our sight as photographers.
Build the frame in your head.
Point of view
Often when I shoot, I search for different point of view. To be honest not sometimes, actually every time, everywhere you can find another and interesting point of view. And the variations are millions. All you need to do is just look around.
Close to the subject or far, high or low point of view, rotated from different angle. Not always the best view is from your eye level. If you don’t want just to shoot some pictures, if you want to actually create art you will have to see the image in your head and then look for it. And also compose your image in the viewfinder. Why that matter? According to your camera and lens sometimes you will not be able to put all that you want in your picture or the other way around is that your frame can be full of stuff.
Of course it is difficult to say with a few words what should be in your frame. Here is some important stuff to think about when you try to compose your image. Is there an interesting foreground, something that surrounds it, something particular about your object of interest.. Fencing your subject – that’s one of the techniques often used by professionals, put your subject in the frame (see a few paragraphs below). Shoot diagonally. Here you can experiment a lot before you press the trigger.
Perhaps in this section should begin by stating that the framing and composition are two completely different things.
Framing is 2 types, Vertical (Portrait) and Horizontal (Landscape). Composition on the other hand can be: Diagonal, Triangular and S-shaped.
Very often you will hear that a well composed photo is balanced and powerful. Here in our help come the rules of thirds – divide the frame into two horizontal and two vertical lines and where they cross each other that’s usually the strongest places in the picture. For example: in portrait is extremely important the position of the eyes. Same applies for traditional images of landscapes where the horizon most often separates the frame. Place it at the bottom or top line strong line and you will bring life to your shot.
If you love posting and sharing pictures in forums and sharing websites, most likely you will encounter remarks for the composition on this parameter….
Well yes, but not everything is only in those lines and points.
Another thing which we often do not think is the movement of our eyes while looking at photos. There is a specific order we don’t really think much about that are we? But it’s very important to know that the eyes move from left to right which makes that diagonal the strongest in a composition.
And speaking of diagonals, composition and lines that guide our sight I should mention the golden ratio and Fibonacci’s spiral, which we explain in details in separate topic with more examples.
Organize your frame
As we talked about in another article it is important how you will arrange the frame so that it is balanced and gives a sense of story that you tell. It might sound crazy, but it is important what you will put inside the frame to cause association what is happening outside it. If you managed to balance the frame each element will reinforce the idea of the picture or opposite – it depends what feeling you looking for. Move while framing your image to see the subject in different angles and positions. Decide what the best framing is and what feeling you want your image to have and bring to the viewer. Consider the position of the objects in your picture but also the weather in which you shooting. Different weather and time also gives different feelings.
Surrounding your subject
“Fencing” the object in photography is usually used by the biggest professional photographers. If you learn to shoot thru different holes, fences and others you will see how interesting the view can be of something familiar. The other that can help you is the foreground. Be careful what you place there. Just try not to destroy the harmony and balance in your image. For example: good foreground can be a sleuth in the foreground over a beautiful sunset for a background.
Black and White or Colour
Black and White or colour you can decide later in retouching process but it’s really good if you can decide when you take the shot. In many situations the weather will help you too. I personally often break some rules (I shoot at noon) exactly because that time of the day you have more contrast and you can play with the shadows and the highlights. And that’s the best for black and white images. The dynamics of the nuances in monochrome is very important because besides the composition and the story that you want to tell it makes the picture alive. In your viewfinder you see your shot organised and right away you can decide is it better black and white or in colour. Any differences in the time of the day reflect differently on the colour rendering. For landscape photography it has one rule – shoot early morning or afternoon when the sun is low. Sunsets and sunrises are typical example of absorption and scattering of light transmission when colour is gentle and nice. Warm nuances popup while cold ones and shallow and they are lost in the image. Just think about do you feel happy to shoot in gloomy weather? The role of light is leading because that’s everything in photography and you must learn to control it.
Sources: Lectures Coco Treyman
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