Struggling to understand/practice composition

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 5,671
Re: Struggling to understand/practice composition

PerAE wrote:


I’m new to this photography thing (besides using my phone) and I’m having a hard time understanding how to compose my photos in a good way. There’s a tendency to put the subjects smack in the middle when I look at my photos. Not in all of them, but a lot.

I thought I’ll post two photos here where I deliberately put the subjects in the middle and with a lot of room around them so that someone who’s good at this could perhaps show me how you would have composed these scenes (and perhaps explain to me why you’d choose to compose them that way)

Let's do a thought exercise. If your cat were a person and you were making a portrait of them, how would you compose the shot? Compare what you imagine your perspective and framing on the person would be with the above photo. Would you make a portrait of a person while standing high looking down upon them? Would you frame the person head-to-toe with a lot of empty space around them?

If you do a similar thought exercise with this photo, one of the questions you might ask is, would you photograph the person with their eyes visible to the lens or would you wait for the person to tuck the face into their elbow and sneeze or cough to make the exposure?

Ultimately, we end up making photographs that please us and, for a hobbyist, that's great. If your sense is that your photos are missing something or a bit off, a great way to explore and address that is to look for another photographer's work that you really like and study it.

What perspective does the photographer take with respect to their subjects? At eye level, below or above eye level? Is the subject making eye contact with the lens/photographer? If not making eye contact, are the eyes visible? What is the quality of light? Is the framing tight, wide or very wide/loose? Is there anything in the frame in addition to the subject? If yes, what does it add to the image?

Good luck on your journey.

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

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