Struggling to understand/practice composition

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
CptAmerica Senior Member • Posts: 1,046
Re: Struggling to understand/practice composition

PerAE wrote:

Thanks for a very interesting post with great pictures as examples! Very easy to understand what you mean then, great stuff! I see what you mean by the direction of the energy

Here is another example I use when I am teaching composition. This is a neat one, because I have placed my subject and background in a specific place to create something a little out of the ordinary. Take a look first:

What do you see? In this image, what has been created by the sheer alignment of things in the picture, is a cross. big plus sign. The grass going up the dirt road, meets the split in the different tree depths in the top half of the image. The horizon of the road on the left, meets the rocks on the right. It creates an image that appears to be separated into 4 quadrants.

What I did, was place my boy in the "top left corner"... of the "bottom right quadrant". I hope that makes sense, it may take reading it a few times. I hope I explained it.

Most people would not place the subject like this, but to me... this created a neat effect. The energy direction of the road matches the direction my boy is facing. Even though there is a lot of ..."dead space" above and to the left, it isn't actually dead. That space is ADDING to the image, not detracting. It's adding to the story. It's hard to describe, but this composition, in my opinion, really works well. Take notice of the equal spacing of my subject from both the right and bottom edges of the image. With that spacing, the image breaths. Placed closer to the edges, and it would have created tension i wouldn't want. You want that balance.

Somebody else may dislike this and would have framed it totally differently.

Being able to see this stuff in the viewfinder, and quickly, takes a ton of practice. How did I spot this? You have to see what your subject is doing, which way they are facing or moving, take quick and constant mental notes of what is around your subjects, and where you need to stand in order to align things to get the balance, energy flow, and alignment of objects you want, to get the effect you want. Trial and error.

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