Composition

Discussion in 'Photography' started by J, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. J

    J Guest

    Story time! :)

    I was taking some shots last year in the Scottish mountains and lochs, when
    I was approached by a tourist, an Indian fellow who was on holiday with his
    family. He said "you need to get yourself a good vantage point for 'that'
    shot". And I said "really"? I was shooting a castle on a river btw, it was
    akward from where I was standing. He looked at me like there was a problem
    then said "give me your camera and I'll show you". I handed the fellow my
    dslr and he took a shot then showed me it. I remember thinking "smart ass"!
    :) I had a quick look at the lcd display and didn't think twice about the
    shot really. I thanked him for his 'help' then continued shooting. When I
    eventually got home I was sitting at the pc going through my week's photos
    to find the better ones. That's when the brother-in-law came in! He sat down
    and watched as I clicked through my photos, then all of a sudden he jumped
    up and said "wow! that's a belter of a photo"! And I was like 10 feet tall,
    the fuss he'd made over it. Then my wife chimed in with "isn't that the
    photo the Indian gentleman took"?! All of a sudden I felt like 2 feet tall!
    To think that out of some 500 shots over the week, this ONE shot by my
    Indian friend was the only one worth looking at had just pulled the rug out
    from under my feet! The thing is, he didn't adjust any settings or anything
    like that, he simply had an eye for compostition that blew me away! Okay,
    there may well be a moral to this story, but the question remains...'just
    how the hell do you develop a good eye for compostition? Hmm.

    J
     
    J, Dec 19, 2011
    #1
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  2. Learn all the rules, practice, then break them.

    See any Toaist essay on being formless.
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 19, 2011
    #2
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  3. J

    Robert Coe Guest

    :
    : Story time! :)
    :
    : I was taking some shots last year in the Scottish mountains and lochs, when
    : I was approached by a tourist, an Indian fellow who was on holiday with his
    : family. He said "you need to get yourself a good vantage point for 'that'
    : shot". And I said "really"? I was shooting a castle on a river btw, it was
    : akward from where I was standing. He looked at me like there was a problem
    : then said "give me your camera and I'll show you". I handed the fellow my
    : dslr and he took a shot then showed me it. I remember thinking "smart ass"!
    : :) I had a quick look at the lcd display and didn't think twice about the
    : shot really. I thanked him for his 'help' then continued shooting. When I
    : eventually got home I was sitting at the pc going through my week's photos
    : to find the better ones. That's when the brother-in-law came in! He sat down
    : and watched as I clicked through my photos, then all of a sudden he jumped
    : up and said "wow! that's a belter of a photo"! And I was like 10 feet tall,
    : the fuss he'd made over it. Then my wife chimed in with "isn't that the
    : photo the Indian gentleman took"?! All of a sudden I felt like 2 feet tall!
    : To think that out of some 500 shots over the week, this ONE shot by my
    : Indian friend was the only one worth looking at had just pulled the rug out
    : from under my feet! The thing is, he didn't adjust any settings or anything
    : like that, he simply had an eye for compostition that blew me away! Okay,
    : there may well be a moral to this story, but the question remains...'just
    : how the hell do you develop a good eye for compostition? Hmm.

    You take hundreds of pictures, then go over them one at a time, adjusting the
    color balance, brightness, and contrast, looking for the best crop, analyzing
    how you handled the subject and what you might have done differently, whether
    it might have worked better at a different time of day, whether you could have
    found a better vantage point, whether you used the right equipment and paid
    enough attention to technical issues, etc., etc., etc. There are no major
    shortcuts; the various composition "rules" (the rule of thirds; having the
    subject look into, not out of, the picture; not plunking the main subject in
    the center unless it actually looks better that way; looking for perspective
    lines that draw attention where you want it; etc.) can help, as can attending
    courses and lectures. But ultimately you have to learn to see your pictures
    according to your style and preferences and keep re-assessing what works and
    what doesn't. If your pictures get better over time, you're on the right
    track. If they don't, you have to look deeper, work harder, and/or spend more
    time examining the work of others to see what they're doing right that you
    aren't.

    I think the moral of your particular story is that you can learn a lot from
    the work of photographers who are better than you are. So try to recognize
    them when they happen by, and seek them out when you need guidance or advice.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 19, 2011
    #3
  4. J

    tony cooper Guest

    You think you are alone in this? It is to laugh.

    I don't do landscapes, but I do a lot of street and people shots.

    I was out today with my camera at a farmer's market. There was a guy
    there selling hot sauces. He had about 30 different bottles of hot
    sauces in bright colors and shapes. The vendor was an older guy
    with a lot of character in his face. I visualized a shot of him with
    all those bright bottles in front of him, and grabbed a few shots with
    him offering taste samples to a customer.

    Not a keeper in the bunch. My angle was all wrong in every one, and I
    *worked* the angles. There was a shot there, but I missed it. I know
    what I *should* have shot, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.
     
    tony cooper, Dec 19, 2011
    #4
  5. J

    PeterN Guest

    No one can give you the whole answer. The very purpose of critiques is
    to help improve. Go to local museums, go to virtual museums, study the
    images, in whatever medium they originated in. A pleasing composition is
    medium agnostic.
    Listen to the critiques, take from them what works for you. And most
    important, don't fight with the guy who is professional enough to spend
    his time giving you an opinion. You might discuss in person. Oh yes,
    simply ignore the trolls.

    HTH
     
    PeterN, Dec 19, 2011
    #5
  6. J

    J Guest


    LOL!

    J
     
    J, Dec 19, 2011
    #6
  7. J

    J Guest

    I can see there's a lot more to taking a photo than I'd even thought!
    Inspirational stuff you've given me here!
    Gonna go over my shots again as you suggested and hopefully maybe find that
    'special' one!

    J
     
    J, Dec 19, 2011
    #7
  8. J

    J Guest

    It's also heartening to hear that even the Pros have some 'bad' days.
    Maybe not just so many though!

    J
     
    J, Dec 19, 2011
    #8
  9. J

    J Guest

    I am always grateful for advice from those who know more than myself. This
    all helps!

    Thanks.

    J
     
    J, Dec 19, 2011
    #9
  10. J

    gordo Guest

    There is a huge amount of information on the internet regarding composition.

    Gordo

    "J" wrote in message

    I am always grateful for advice from those who know more than myself. This
    all helps!

    Thanks.

    J
     
    gordo, Dec 19, 2011
    #10
  11. J

    Whiskers Guest

    The other big secret is ... don't show anyone the pictures you aren't
    proud of ;))
     
    Whiskers, Dec 19, 2011
    #11
  12. I posted a gallery of pictures taken from my first real trip outside with a
    camera since childhood. Most of the photos were just reference, test shots,
    and experiments. The whole gallery has presented as such but, Christ, you
    should have seen the posturing it generated...

    And I don't like cropping or retouching, and if the shit small sensor camera
    blooms on a bright day get over it!
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 19, 2011
    #12
  13. J

    tcroyer Guest

    Take hundreds, nay, thousands, of pictures and evaluate each.

    First, if a shot doesn't grab you when reviewed on the camera's display,
    don't let it out of the camera -- delete it. Then, for each "keeper", ask
    "Why don't I think this is good as it can be?"

    Show your shots to people who don't know "squat" about the mechanics of
    photography and ask what they think. If the lay critic is really honest,
    you'll get an earful (my wife is my best critic -- she looks at each picture
    I show her as a buyer).

    Review competitions and the associated critiques. Ask "How could I do
    equally well? How could I do better?"

    Buy some steel armor for your ego -- it'll get awfully bruised.
     
    tcroyer, Dec 19, 2011
    #13
  14. J

    PeterN Guest


    I learn more from the ones I aren't so proud of.
     
    PeterN, Dec 20, 2011
    #14
  15. J

    Whiskers Guest

    That is what they're good for; learning, not showing.
     
    Whiskers, Dec 20, 2011
    #15
  16. J

    PeterN Guest

    How do you get comments if you don't show them. I want to learn that too.
     
    PeterN, Dec 21, 2011
    #16
  17. J

    tony cooper Guest

    Bruce will be quite willing to provide comments on photographs not
    shown. He will label them all "crap".
     
    tony cooper, Dec 21, 2011
    #17
  18. Is this a "crap" v "crop" grudge match, or something?
     
    Charles E. Hardwidge, Dec 21, 2011
    #18
  19. J

    Whiskers Guest

    I'm not saying don't show anyone any of your photos ;))

    If you have a 'failure' and can't work out why it hasn't worked, then by
    all means ask for advice from someone whose knowledge or opinion you
    respect.
     
    Whiskers, Dec 21, 2011
    #19
  20. J

    Savageduck Guest

    Only if you are commenting on crappy crops.
     
    Savageduck, Dec 21, 2011
    #20
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