A place to think about composition in photography

square format

Painting-like effects in photography without photoshop

This is a straight shot, apart from a little cropping the photograph is pretty much as taken.

Under the trees

Under the trees

On Sharpness…

This has a painterly like quality to it.

Too often as photographers we are pressed to create pin-sharp images where every single detail is resolved in perfect order.

It doesn’t have to be like that, well not all the time anyway.

One of the difficulties in composing photographs, is how to be different.  this sounds easy but it is incredibly hard to do.  There are lots of people out there taking photographs and adding to the global collection most of these are sort of carbon copies of one another.

In our mass-produced society being different is  a highly prized condition.  When you think you have something different, tell people about it, add to the richness of human creativity.  If you find out it has been done before well you can always give it another go.

Being different makes you think harder and live a little more intensely, isn’t that a fascinating thought?



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.

Square Composition: Rainbow and Stile

The square composition works well for this landscape.  In the alternative landscape format the dark clouds would dominate the picture too much and leave an unsatisfying empty foreground.

Rainbow and Stile above Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales

Rainbow and Stile above Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales

The picture works because it has a zig-zag composition

Rainbow and Stile Composition Vector Diagram

Rainbow and Stile Composition Vector Diagram

The vector diagram (the red arrows) give the impression this is the way we always read this picture’s composition.  After considering this for a while I have come to the view that we rationalise the composition after the fact.  This all happens in seconds:

  • The eye scans the picture, taking in the scene, darting from the rainbow stile and wall.
  • The eye then discovers the faint path leading to the style
  • The eye is then guided along the wall to the rainbow
  • Then up the rainbow to wander in the dark clouds
  • The eye repeats this process, gradually noticing details such as
  • The shape of the path echoes the shape of the rainbow.
  • The there is a post in the wall to slighty jolt the eye just before you get to the base of the rainbow

The simple zig-zag composition pattern is pleasing to the eye because it is easy to grasp and familiar. The eye is rapidly guided from aimless wandering to repeat the path through the picture again and again, rewarding the persistent viewer with new details that give a satisfying viewing experience