Photography Composition

Photo Composition – Focus on point of view

This article discusses photo composition, consciously breaking the rule of thirds, how to look for a framing of a scene to get a pleasing look and feel.

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In photography point of view is everything

This is a short description of my personal method and theory regarding photo composition, i.e. it’s how I get the look common to all my photos, and how I often come home with a keeper, sometimes several. Let’s get started

There are 3 ways I tend to compose a scene…

  1. From the point of view of looking through something, around something or over something as if the something is revealing the subject.
  2. Having the subject seem to pull or flow toward the middle of the scene.
  3. Having the subject on one side of the scene and then diminishing toward the other side leaving negative space. 

It’s not about following a composition rule, it’s about creating a feeling. Therefore try all of these when deciding how to establish the right point of view, the one that speaks to you.

In the photo above, I started out about 100 feet to the right.  Nothing else in the shot but the rocks.  I kept moving left until some other interesting stuff appeared, and then that’s when I saw what I wanted.

Photo Composition – Framing the scene

Whenever I am looking at a potential location, usually one of the first things I do walk past it at a 90-degree angle looking at it with my heard turned toward the subject while walking.   I am looking for an interesting composition.  This is the quickest way to see almost every possible framing from where you are located.   Sometimes you need to move closer or father away and repeat this examination.   I often take dozens of photos of the same subject because I like several different points of view during this process.

Up close or far away

Once I find a pleasing point of view, the next thing I do is stand in that location and try a variety of focal lengths (zoom in and out).  Sometimes I take several photos at different focal lengths.  I tend to start farther away from a subject and move closer as I am looking for the right point of view.  This helps to get interesting foreground or eliminate foreground distraction.

Press the button

When you come up on a scene that holds great promise, take a LOT of photos… from far, near, different focal lengths, different points of view.   This is the only time you will have to capture that exact moment in time.  Things will change if you come back; the sky, foliage, lighting, your mood, etc.  It is not unusual for me to come home with several hundred photos.  Toss out the unusable, but chances are you have gotten at least one and likely several usable shots and maybe, just maybe that killer shot, the magic shot that makes it all worth it.

You are the customer

In closing, I want to add the following. Don’t get hung up on trying to shoot what you think other people want to see. Shoot what you like, the way you like. The appreciation from others will come as they see what you were seeing.

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