Struggling to understand/practice composition

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 17,663
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)

I haven't read every post here but I commend the one from Don Cox. Basically, most things (but not all, of course) look better when they are off-centre.

But framing is just as important as composition - framing is getting everything you want, but no more, in the picture. Composition is how you arrange those thing(s), so there is an interplay between the two.

In your top picture you obviously wanted the cat - but did you want the band of tall grass cutting across and above its head? If not, you needed to move so that your framing excluded that band of grass. If you then got the cat with just enough grass around it to give context, with a bit more space for it to look into, the composition would have pretty well solved itself.

I can't do what you ask and crop to give a decent composition because with that band of grass there isn't one.

In the second picture the bird's posture is ugly so I wouldn't have bothered, but a few seconds later you'd probably have had a better picture of the it. However, the ring of ripples adds interest, so if you include that as part of what you want to frame (as I think you should) then you'd point the camera down and to the right; and that would have placed the bird to left and above centre: again, getting the framing right would have led to better composition.

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I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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