A place to think about composition in photography

Posts tagged “sculpture

Planning, Patience and Presence

I receive a lot of mail about the quality of light at the time the picture is taken.

Photoshop can only do so much.

Memorable photographs are created with a combination of Planning, Patience and Presence to respond to the moment. Or, as some may say – luck ūüôā

Climbing the wall

Climbing the wall

This picture was taken at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  I knew the sun would shine through the wooden grille in the café.

The shadows cast by the people in the café caught my eye so I waited.  And waited a bit more.

Then a child started to climb the grille, and this is picture I captured before Mum gently brought her mountaineer back to earth.

This one catches my eye as I scan through the thumbnails of my collections so I think you’ll like it too.


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.