A place to think about composition in photography

Posts tagged “foreground

Which of these two landscapes do you prefer?

I was prompted to go out and take these pictures this weekend partly because the weather had improved and the skies were more interesting than the dull grey cloud we have had for the last few weeks.

The other reason was one of my friends suggested I try comparing photographs that I thought worked well with those that didn’t work quite so well.  I’d like to see if your opinion is the same as mine.

So, here are two photographs taken within seconds of each other

The Landscape format

Path near Burnsall February  (Landscape Format)

Path near Burnsall February (Landscape Format)

The Portrait format


Path near Burnsall in February

Path near Burnsall in February (Portrait Format)

Please feel free to leave comments as well as add to the poll



Using the Lead-in

Lead-ins are a composition technique I use a great deal.  For me the purpose of a lead-in is to draw the viewer into the picture by guiding the eye.  In a landscape context our eyes look to the ground so we know where it is safe to walk.  Placing a lead-in in the bottom foreground of the picture plays to this fact and is a strong cue for the viewer to start to examine the image from a familiar perspective and you are led into the picture.

Lavender fields in the cotswolds

Lavender fields in the Cotswolds

This structure feels familiar and allows the viewer to navigate the rest of the picture.  Composition is therefore about understanding and evolving patterns that help guide the viewer through the image and engaging the viewer’s attention.

Let’s look at a picture that seems completely different:

Sculpture at Sledmere

Sculpture and sky at Sledmere

I still think of this as a landscape picture, (I’m interested in what you think so please do leave a comment).  This is a less conventional image, the only familiar reference point is the sky.   There is nowhere to imagine yourself walking in this picture so I felt less constrained to have the lead-in in just one place.  Now the lead-in lines dominate the picture radiating inwards from all the edges and command the attention to the crown in the middle top.  Once the eye has lingered there it moves to the background and the familiarity provided by the blue sky and white clouds.  The interpretation then  moves from abstract pattern to some structure that is in the open air, a construction in the landscape.