A place to think about composition in photography

Posts tagged “design


Colours and lines attract me.

This picture is a variant on the lead-in style of composition.



I like the simplicity of the composition, the dynamic sweeps of the curves are a powerful effect.

You’ll know I’m quite aware of the horizon in my pictures.  In this one the eye searches out a line and the only one that matches our preconceptions is the roughly horizontal line right at the top of the image.  This adds to the powerful effect and holds the attention. Well, it works for me anyway, tell me what you think…



I’m exploring different ways of looking at people.

Two friends walking together


I like the contrast of the sharp graphic lines with the softer edges of the figures.

Tree House

Trees in the winter can be stark things rather devoid of colour.  This is a different look at a tree.

Tree House

Tree House

Wintry blue skies can be intense, especially if they are contrasted with warmer colours.

I liked the pattern of lichens on the ancient roof tiles, they are suggestive of foliage when combined with the shadow of the tree.

Understanding how we read photographs – descent or ascent?

I am interested in the way different cultures perceive composition in photographs.

In the English-speaking world we are taught to read from left to right.  This convention applies to information that is presented to us in the form of spreadsheets, charts and graphs as well as text.

This photograph was composed with this convention in mind:


Wall and tree above Buckden

The wall forms a sweeping curve underlining the focal point of the tree.

Tension is reduced arranging the curve in this way because most viewers read images from left to right giving this strong element associations of a smooth descent.

What I am interested to find out is:  Do people from other cultures that read from right to left, perceive this photograph in the same way?

Please do leave me comments I’m fascinated to know about this.

Placing the horizon


There are many sources of information that tell the photographer that the best place for the horizon is on one of the two imaginary horizontal lines that divide the picture into thirds.  It is true that many photographs I have taken do seem to conform to this convention such as the picture of Scarborough seafront below.


Scarborough Seafront

In the Scarborough photograph the horizon is placed on the imaginary line that defines the upper third of the picture (two-thirds from the bottom) and all is well.  This picture was not taken with this explicitly in mind at the time, it just felt natural for this compostion.

Adding more interest

The ‘comfort’ of having the horizon on the two-thirds line is balanced by the dynamic diagonal lead-in formed by the railings and walkway that takes the viewer to the extreme left of the picture before the eye is led back across to the bottom of the cliff where it meets the sea.

A subconscious emotional journey is taken through the picture with the viewer being led right out of the frame by the diagonal before being brought back to rest on the horizon line where order is restored at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical thirds.

It is my belief that we all share an understanding of the ‘rightness’ of this placement because we are surrounded by images and designed objects that use this composition element.

This immersion has given us all a visual literacy so we may respond positively to a picture that employs this technique without being aware of why.