More on Composition: What To Look For

 

Our brains are attracted to shapes.  Just think of anything you find attractive or appealing: Square brownies, a triangular pizza, or a round cookie.  Now think about some things that are unattractive: a drooping flower, a pile mashed potatoes, or a blob of stomach fat... All shapeless.  

 

In photography, distinct shapes and patterns usually make for good photos.  So think about shapes and letters while venturing out. 

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In addition, here’s some other stuff to look for:

 

Leading Lines

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Leading lines are a great way to make use of the foreground (especially if the subject is far away).  They guide the viewer through the image.  Roads, tiles, trees, and rivers are often key to constructing great leading lines.    

 

Negative Space

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Think of negative space like plain wrapping paper.  When shooting a building, the negative space will be the sky.  The subject should ‘cut into the wrapping paper’ in an appealing or interesting way.  Think about shapes or letters that can be formed to ‘cut into’ the space.   

 

Frame Within A Frame

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With composition we’re basically trying to find the best way to tell the viewer where to look.  The ‘frame within a frame’ method does that very explicitly.  It’s a quick and simple way to say, “Look here!”    

 

Pattern/Repetition

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It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to know that humans are always on the hunt for patterns.  We like things that are consistent and repeat.  They makes us feel safe.  Stay on the lookout for colors and objects that repeat.

 

Contrast/Proportion

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Just as easily as we recognize patterns, we are equally equipped to recognize when something sticks out.  This makes for an interesting or funny photo.    Try to find abnormally big/small objects, and show how they don’t fit in with the rest of the scene.  Look for odd colors that pop out, and use backgrounds to give the viewer an idea of scale in the image.

Keeping these things in mind when shooting will certainly lead to better images.


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