Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition: Discussion
|Now let's look at a few prizewinning photos and see why
the judges gave them such high scores. In this picture titled Afternoon Chat, the
photographer arranged the subjects in a simple, well-balanced composition. He also made
good use of diagonal lines. Remember, of course, that these are only guidelines; so you
can bend or even break them and still create fine photographs . . .
|. . . like this. The photographer actually strengthened
this prizewinner by ignoring a few guidelines and composing this subject in the center of
the format. The strength of the subject and the simple black background make this one
|Here's another winner. Why? Well because it's an extremely
interesting picture that makes good visual sense, and that's just as important as our list
of guidelines. The chances are you'll use only a few guidelines at a time. For instance,
this picture of a frog is an excellent example of a close-up. It makes good use of
simplicity and, despite its centrally placed horizon, it has viewer impact.
|Impact - here it is again. This has that
elusive quality called human interest. So be an opportunist and capture these fleeting
moments even if you overlook a few guidelines. You can make some corrections after you
take the picture. For instance, you can trim or enlarge just a portion of your pictures as
we've indicated here with these cropping lines.
|This picture is cropped to a square format. Is that really
the way you'd like it? To see if you'd like to change its proportions, hold your hands out
in front of you and try cropping this as a vertical. You've probably seen artists do this.
Now try a horizontal cropping. This is a good way to look at pictures, improve them, and
develop your photographic eye.
|Here's a simple cropping guideline. Include the portions of
your subject that you feel are most interesting and important. For instance, you may like
this portrait of Pat in a square format, or cropped to a horizontal.
|However, many people prefer portraits of individuals that
are cropped vertically. The subjects seem to fit better. The choice, of course, is yours.
|Here's a photograph that has simplicity and a strong center
of interest. The photographer composed it with plenty of extra space around the subject to
permit a variety of print croppings. How would you crop this picture-horizontal or
vertical? And where would you place the center of interest?
|Do the flags contribute to the composition of this picture?
Are those flags really needed? To find out, hold a pencil up in front of you and block out
the flaps. Can you explain why the flags help or hinder good composition?
|Which of these views do you prefer? Can you explain why?
|Can you explain the compositional strength or weaknesses of
these next three photos? Use some of the guidelines we've mentioned and add some of your
own reactions to these photographs.
|You can use your talents in photographic composition in
many different ways. Now it's your turn.
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