A place to think about composition in photography

Archive for April, 2011

Mixed verticals and strong lead in lines

See what you make of this one.



The first thing you notice is the shape of the trees emphasised by the repeating pattern

Then the strong lead in lines capture the eye.


Composing with the Golden Section

This picture has two main compositional elements, see if you agree with me:


Galaxy 2

There is the lead-in of the bright points of light from the left and the centre of the spectrum hub is placed on a vertical golden section.

I had considered cropping the image to make the centre of the hub sit on the intersection of vertical and horizontal thirds but in this case it did not work as well so I left it like this which for me is far more satisfying

Composing without the Golden Section (2)

This photograph does not follow many of the conventional rules.  It is asymmetric and not composed with the golden section.


Galaxy 1

It works for me though. The colours make this picture and the starburst highlights make it look like a picture that NASA’s hubble telescope might have taken.

It is more earthly, but quite what is difficult to tell.  this underlying mystery holds the attention after the bright colours have done their work.

Composing without the Golden Section

I liked this picture for its simple colour contrast.

I think it works well in a square format and it is not deliberately composed using the golden section.

Yellow Bin Black Fence IMG_3086

Yellow Bin Black Fence IMG_3086

There is a little subtle detail in the green shape behind the fence which shows through as two green stripes.  These do sit very close to a vertical third but the yellow bin dominates the composition.  This contrasts with the black fence and the shadows cast by the railings in this photograph.

Urban Landscapes and the Golden Section

The Golden Section is a design idea that has been around for at least two thousand years and its purpose is to make a composition more pleasing to the eye.

Roughly speaking if you divide up a picture into thirds then things of interest are more appealing if they are placed on one of these lines and special points of interest are where horizontal and vertical lines cross.

I took this picture a few days ago, and liked it enough to put it in the blog.

Mill and Blue Doors

Mill and Blue Doors

I liked the picture but wasn’t sure what was behind this instinct.

I thought it compositionless (that is to say not conforming to any rules)  However when I looked more closely I realised that it was based on the golden section.

I have put the section lines in the picture below so you can see what I mean.

Mill and Blue doors with golden section lines added

Mill and Blue doors with golden section lines added

For comparison I took a similar picture with the doors set centrally:

Mill & blue doors central

Mill & blue doors central

Placing the interest centrally doesn’t work as well as being placed on the section line.