Photographic Composition- Lesson 1

by - Thursday, April 04, 2013

One of my (many) goals for my life crisis is to try to learn more about my new camera and to be more deliberate in my photography. I take a lot of pictures, but only a very small smidgen of them are particularly good (maybe 1-2 for every 100 I take?), and I would like to up my percentage.

 Maybe I will write more about this later, but I think I use photography for 2 things- first, to consistently remind myself that the present is fleeting, to try to see the good in every day, to treat as many moments as I can as important (because if you treat your life as important, I truly believe it will be). Second, I use my pictures (and the resulting books and calendars) as community building tools. I think people like to see themselves embedded within a community, and remembering previous good times just motivates everyone to keep having good times. I have seen this in action, and I truly believe it works.

Because these are my primary goals, I haven't put much deliberate effort into my photography since I was in high school (beyond just learning the new equipment and lenses I have). So I am reading Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Mind and Richard D Zakia and David Page's book Photographic Composition. Freeman's book centers on intent and the ideas embedded in photography, while Zakia and Page's book introduces different compositional styles (and I think how different lenses can manipulate this, but I haven't got there yet). It even has assignments! So for the first assignment, I have to identify certain compositional shapes in my photographs and then deliberately take photographs in those shapes. I will do Part 2 over the weekend, but I think I can do Part 1 now.

Ok first was the Rule of Thirds (a classic Pag taught me in high school):

Then, they talked about centering and off center photographs, continually pushing to keep things balanced but not boring:

 Centered Pics

Off Center Pics

They also identified lead lines, which direct the viewer's eye back into the space- these can be s-curves or c-shaped curves


 S- Curves (This one is the hardest!)

 Then, they talked about shapes, specifically V-Shapes and triangles (the exercise for this weekend is all about taking triangle pictures)

V Shapes


Dick and Dave really don't want the business to get boring, so they spend the rest of the chapter talking about horizon lines (don't put them in the center! Break them up!), diagonals (yay! we like them), symmetry (boo! Unless you can find a way to make it interesting) and repetition (kind of a mixed bag, they conceptualize it like rhythm, so you want syncopation over a steady beat).

Horizon Lines



 Symmetry (those guys would love me, because this one was rough!)

 And Last but not least, Repetition!!

Alright! So this weekend, this is my mission-
1. Take a photograph of friends and family where they are arranged in a triangle shape.
2. Take 2 photos of the same subject- one that follows the rule of thirds, and one that doesn't.
3. Photograph subjects with interesting lines and patterns. Get some S curves, C curves, etc.

You May Also Like