Saturday, July 21, 2007

Composition is Essential in Photography

Photography Composition' is something of a dirty word in some photographic circles, because of the way that certain rules used to be raised to the status of a religion, and a picture which did not follow the Rules of Photography Composition was automatically disregarded by the self-appointed pundits in the camera clubs and photo magazines. Even so, the old 'rules' (the Rule of Third) are excellent general guidelines, though you should never be afraid to break them if you can get a better picture that way.

Composition is all about how you arrange the elements of the scene in front of you. While you can't move the landscape, you will still have plenty of opportunities for perfecting your composition.


For a subject to be strong enough to be worth photographing, the relationship of its forms must be rigorously established. Photography composition starts when you situate your camera in space in relation to the object. For me, photography is the exploration in reality of the rhythm of surfaces, lines, or values; the eye carves out its subject, and the camera has only to do its work. That work is simply to print the eye’s decision on film. -Henri Cartier-Bresson



The best advice I can give is to use your feet. Get out there and walk around your chosen area to see how the elements within the landscape work together. Change your viewpoint - don't stick to the 'standard' eyeball-height view (everyone does this), so get down on the ground or get up to a height and use uncommon viewpoints to see if these perspectives can improve a scene. Take a look at the tips on landscape photography for more ideas. Photography composition is more art than science, although using scientific principles will get you better results, but you need to go beyond that. A book like Photography: The Art Of Composition will help increase your artistic proficiency while still keeping you grounded in the science.

Always take your time while composing a photograph. While changing light conditions can mean you need to work fast, I find that using a tripod slows things down and means that I have to think about what I'm photographing and the composition I'm trying to achieve rather than quickly snapping a scene in the hopes it'll turn out well when I look at it at home. Since I use a tripod, I'm more likely to go to a greater effort in getting a good photo to reward the time I've put into setting up the shot. If your exposures are going to be long, a tripod will ensure your photos are as sharp as possible.

2 comments:

ZJ said...

Hi Buddy. Thanks for your tips, it's quite useful for photog wannabes like me. I agree with you about the composition. I had background in photography when I was in uni and I had been to photog workshops before but I seem to forget all about the elements when a photo opportunity comes my way. More often than not, na-tsa-tsambahan ko lang.
I also know that it's not about the kind or brand of camera, but still, what's the best camera/brand for you? I am merely a point-and-shoot person but would like to tinker with other elements as well.

P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog and can we exchange links?

aryo said...

Hi! Can I ask you something? How can I reduce the size of my photographs? I wanted to upload one as my blog header, but it turns out to be very big! The same concern arose when I tried uploading pics at Friendster. It always says my files are too large. Help! Thanks.(rsandarino@yahoo.com)

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