Saturday, January 09, 2010

13 Ways to Better Photos...DAY 3 {composition}

We talked on Day 1 about the angle that YOU, as the photographer, took from behind the viewfinder. Today we’ll look at what you SEE through the viewfinder. To me, composition of photos really MAKES the story behind the photos come alive.

Before I even explain what “Composition” means to me, I’m going to encourage you to take a walk around your house while looking through the viewfinder. Because the truth is that looking through that tiny hole or looking at your subjects/objects via a screen on your camera is NOT the same as looking through your eyeballs. THE CAMERA MUST BECOME YOUR EYEBALLS. And naturally, just like new glasses, things are going to look a little different for awhile. So go…walk around…& promise you won’t run into anything…

You back? Okay good.

Composition is made up of 4 parts, depending on WHAT you are shooting. 1 of the parts we’ve already talked about (go you!)

1) angle & rule of thirds should be present in EVERY photo, regardless of what or where or who or why the picture is taken.

2) The second part of composition is to learn to crop your frame. Meaning, get rid of all that “white space” (even though it isn’t usually white) on the boarder around your subject. Look back at Day 1 where we learned about angle. See how each of the photos is cropped tight? And see what a difference it makes cutting out all the excess & FOCUSING on what you are photographing? The muffin’s in the kitchen is the perfect example…Some basic rules to follow in cropping your frame through the viewfinder:

If you are taking a picture of a person: crop it TIGHT.

day 3 composition crop your frame!

If you are taking a picture of an object: give it just a tad more room

day 3 composition things

day 3 composition FOCUS on the object

If you are taking a picture of a place or scenery: give it a LOT of room—we want to see the scenery!

day 3 composition places

day 3 composition beginning middle end

3) Give each picture of an object or scene a beginning, a middle, and an end. {more on this later...}

4) Remember to tell stories (through your photos) about the PEOPLE. This last rule mostly applies to trips where we tend to see (with our eyeballs) new places, beautiful architecture, & amazing scenes. What we forget, however, is that the camera can’t capture things exactly as well see them. So…we need to alter our mindset & realize that as amateur photographers (I fit under this category also), the PEOPLE should be our focus. In a few days we’ll be reminded to focus on the details, too, but I won’t open that bag of worms. …

speaking of worms, these photos of our Alaskan fishing adventure are a perfect example. I captured the details (to be shown later), but also focused on the PEOPLE. Sure, the scenes were amazing & I didn’t forget to take photos of them; BUT I was so pleased when I got back home & realized that I had chosen NOT to fill my camera with buildings I wouldn’t remember or mountains that weren’t entirely meaningful. I guarantee it…focus on the people & your photographs will (almost) automatically become meaningful.








other looks:
this is a great example of composition (& well, the woman is an incredible photographer as well).

here is a fantastic series of photos about details taken on vacation.

This post is part of a photography series...
Day 1 {angle}
Day 2 {the golden rule}

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through Kimba and also your photography blog. I love your photos!! I've saved up some money and am shopping for a digital SLR camera. I had a 35 mm before the digital days so I'm not starting from complete ignorance but I'm no expert. I appreciate your tips!! My question: What equipment do you use and what do you recommend for a creative amateur!
Thanks! ~Sonya

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