Generally accepted rules of composition encompass framing, structure or rule-of-thirds, leading lines, geometry, symmetry, angles, horizontal horizons, background, anything but eye-level, detail and cropping, and of course, creativity.
Tips for good composition:
- The rule-of-thirds involves dividing the view-finder into vertical and horizontal thirds and arranging the subject or contents of the photo around the lines.
- Check the background for distracting elements or aim to capture clean contrasting colours.
- Leading lines involves a line(s) coming into the photo from outside that serves to guide the eye through the photo.
- Anything but eye-level involves getting up high or down low can be a way to add a whole new angle of interest/perspective to a photo. Getting up/down to the same level as your subject can be captivating.
- Detail and cropping – composition beats fitting everything in to a photo.
- Little details such as texture, patterns, or raindrops can give a photo impact.
- Vertical images, as opposed to always taking horizontal images with the camera can change the perspective and frame of a photo and make it really interesting.
Unit 2 research
“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life”Henri Cartier-Bresson
The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson has greatly informed my understanding of lines, repetition and composition. Cartier-Bresson is renowned for his mastery of composition and photo-portraits, for photographing the liberation of Paris in 1945, and for founding, along with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David ‘Chim’ Seymour and William Vandivert, Magnum Photos in 1947.
It has been said that the genius of Cartier-Bresson was having a frame, a notion of geometry in his brain and in his eye. He spent hours at the Louvre studying paintings, such that when he took a picture the frame was obvious and instinctive to him.
Nathaniel Coalson is another photographer that has informed my knowledge of framing and composition, through his powerful and expressive architecture and travel photography that clearly conveys purpose and intent.
This exercise was really interesting. While I appreciate lines, repetition and composition of photographs. I frequently click away at the shutter button without taking the time to consider framing or look for angles. This exercise emphasized the essential actions underpinning effective photographic design. We learnt to see the environment and world around us differently – looking at lines and angles of walls, stairs, furniture, hallways, windows, buildings etc. Literally, everything around us has individual lines, patterns, shape and structure. The photos that I’ve included in this exercise include a brick wall/bricks and mortar, a wall with vertical piping, parquet floor with tape for social distancing directions, fence with reflective marking, a hallway, a path and a road. Looking for patterns in run of the mill subjects helped to change my perspective and to think about how to use the camera for more effective visual communication.