A place to think about composition in photography

Archive for May, 2011

Increasing the tension in a picture

The landscape view

I liked this view of the boat, looking at it from below against a blue sky is an effective device.

Isolating the prow of the ship and including the mooring lines in the frame helps create a simple composition.

There is literal tension from your knowledge as a viewer that the mooring lines are stretched taut:

Picture of white ship against a blue sky

Landscape picture of a moored boat

The Portrait View

I like this view even more.

Using the portrait format allows an even more dynamic view.

The tension in the picture is increased because including more of the mooring lines makes it look as though the ship is rearing upwards trying to pull free from its restraints.

portrait picture of a moored boat

portrait picture of a moored boat

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Content Contrast

Having too much of one theme in a photograph can sometimes be ok but is ok good enough?

Try introducing a contrast of content as well as colour in a picture and you can improve the composition and make it more interesting.

In this first picture you’ll see the contrast between the door, the bottle and the brush, boldly human artefacts.  the flowers in the pots add a splash of contrasting colour as well as a natural touch.

I shot these photographs a few days ago at Parceval Hall in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales.  A lovely place.

doorstep flowers 1
Doorstep Flowers 1

In the comparison picture I moved a little to the right

Potted Flowers
Potted Flowers

Can you see how the brush is now a distraction and not part of the composition.

The overall effect is nice , partly because your attention is brought more explicitly to the reducing height of the pots that echo the steps on the left of the photograph but I prefer the first picture as there is more interest.  The bottle brush and door bring the human presence into the imagination, I wonder who lives there?