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Thinking about composition #photography

“In the visual arts, composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject. The term composition means ‘putting together’ and can apply to any work of art, from music to writing to photography, that is arranged using conscious thought.”

good composition

Looking for composition

Photography is different from painting a picture. You can’t usually change what you see but you can look around and capture what you see with the composition in mind. I decided to take photographs in West Bromwich High Street on Sunday and this view of the registry office gave me a pattern with visual elements in the foreground, in the middle distance and the subject of the shot in the background. I also considered the light as I took the shot.

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Middle distance

In this shot, the black car helps define the middle distance. I actually took three shots with the car closer and the car farther away. This shot works better than the other two.

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Ultra modern

In this shot I have contrasted the ultra modern with the classical architecture of West Bromwich town hall. The diagonal lines in the image give it lots of depth and interest.

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This is a shot of the town hall and if you look carefully you can identify a lot of elements in this image. The tree in the foreground helps to give it depth and the cars add interest, as well as giving a reference point as we judge the height of the buildings. Our eyes automatically compare the size of the different elements in the picture and compare the height of the white car with the tower of the town hall behind it.

Seeing the shot

I can’t arrange the composition but I can look for a good composition and look at the elements in the shot before I release the shutter. The elements in these shots were both man-made and natural. It can be more difficult with natural elements, then you just look around and see what might give your shot depth or interest. Your elements might be a path going away from you. You might have two trees at different distances from the camera that will be comparable and give you depth.

That’s all for this week. To learn about photography give your composition some thought and then get out there and take photographs! If you would like to follow my blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. You can also find links and more pictures on my Facebook page.

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