Photographic Composition
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Photographic Composition

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Copyright Walsworth Publishing Co.

Copyright Walsworth Publishing Co.

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  • 1. Photographic Composition
  • 2. Composing images for maximum impact While visual storytelling is mainly about content, it is the composition of the images that determines how effectively the story is told. Photo composition is the arrangement of visual elements in the camera viewfinder and in the photo editing prior to publication.
  • 3. Composing images for maximum impact Effective photo composition can be achieved by applying one or a combination of 10 time-tested techniques for arranging the elements in the photo. The first step, however, is to eliminate anything that does not contribute to the content and telling of the visual story.
  • 4. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera position The most basic decision a photographer makes on every image is camera position. Moving close to the subject adds impact and detail.
  • 5. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera position Moving away from the subject can give a better sense of location and provide an opportunity to add more information.
  • 6. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera format Most digital cameras will provide the option of either a horizontal or vertical view of a subject. Make a conscious selection of format based on the content of the image.
  • 7. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera format Varied formats, when applied effectively, also provide editors with more design options.
  • 8. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera angle Making every image at the photographer’s eye level and straight on to the subject is a formula for boring photos that do not take advantage of a subject’s visual possibilities.
  • 9. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — camera angle Vary the camera angle either high or low when it is appropriate to the subject and helps tell the story in an interesting and effective way.
  • 10. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — rule of thirds The decision of where to place the center of interest, the most important storytelling element, is critical. The principle of rule of thirds provides a quick formula for effectively placing the center of interest in the viewfinder. Using rule of thirds, the subject is placed at a point just outside the center of the viewfinder for easy location by the reader.
  • 11. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — achieving rule of thirds To utilize the rule of thirds, it is important to avoid centering the center of interest. Centering makes the image less interesting and less dynamic. Unfortunately, most cameras require the placement of the center of interest in the center of the viewfinder for proper focusing and metering.
  • 12. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — achieving rule of thirds Achieving accurate metering and focus without sacrificing the rule of thirds requires four simple steps: • Focus and meter • Use the camera control that locks those functions • Compose the photo using rule of thirds • Make the exposure
  • 13. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — subject contrast Sometimes effective composition can be achieved by simply making sure that there is contrast between the center of interest and other elements in the photo. This often requires the photographer to adjust his position to change the background in the viewfinder. It may also mean waiting until the subject moves to a better position.
  • 14. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — framing When the center of interest is framed by objects in the foreground or background, it becomes the focus of reader attention regardless of its size or position in the photo. Frames should be natural and subtle so that they do not draw attention away from the main subject.
  • 15. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — leading lines Strong, natural lines in a photo, like a pointing arm or stair railing, can be effective in leading the reader directly to the center of interest.
  • 16. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — depth The arrangement of elements in the viewfinder can create an effective illusion of depth that adds visual interest and a dynamic feel to the photo. The trick is to take advantage of a continuous element or pattern that goes from the foreground to the background.
  • 17. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — repetition When a scene naturally has objects or people that create a repeating pattern, it attracts the attention of the reader. When the pattern is broken by the center of interest, it adds even greater visual impact.
  • 18. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — curves Curves, like leading lines, can add interest to a photo and place emphasis on the center of interest. This powerful composition technique is often found in advertising to add depth, emphasize movement, and enhance visual interest.
  • 19. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — triangles The triangle is another powerful shape for photo composition. Portrait photographers have long used the arrangement of family groups to place heads at different levels to form a triangular pattern.
  • 20. Composing images for maximum impactComposition technique — test your knowledge Look carefully at this image and see if you can identify at least four composition techniques.