Composition, composition, composition....

First request chosen for this weeks blog...Composition. Probably my most challenging subject because I really didn't study it. I set out on my own to discover how to frame and capture my images because I really like to be unique. I'd listen when others would tell me my composition was off but I still tried to discover my own voice and I did. I not only discovered my own voice, but actually had others tell me they loved the composition of my images.

So what is composition? Composition is..

  • Symmetry

  • Simplification

  • Rule of space

  • Rule of thirds

  • Movement

  • Leading lines

  • Background

  • Filling the frame

For the purpose of this blog, I am going to share with you images I took and how they fit into the above categories.

Symmetry - Harmonious and beautifully proportioned, that's the definition of Symmetry. The Symmetry of the image below is the balance of the reflection with the flower. The reflection in the water provides balance to the image.

Simplification - To simplify an image, nothing to distract from the subject as in the image below. The shape of the tulip is my subject, I've positioned the tulip so all other parts of the flower are not in the frame. I believe this creates interest but it also creates simplicity because there is nothing to distract from my subject.

Rule of Space - Is simply the act of adding visual space in front of the subject, this creates room to breathe in the image, which in turn creates calmness.

Rule of Thirds - Is just as it sounds, the image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself as in the image below.

to take that further, the below graph shows you how I've placed the image and what percentage of viewers are drawn to which part of the image. Something to think about, but don't start photographing all your images this way. I mean you can, but wouldn't it be boring to see the same composition for all images you photograph?

Movement - Is the act of capturing movement or creating the illusion of movement. In the image below the petal of the Iris creates movement as it guides you through the image. The petal is not actually moving but the wave of the petal implies it. Movement can also be a succession of flowers, with the flower in the front being your focal point and the remaining flowers fading off into the distance such as the hydrangeas below.

Leading lines - Leading lines are lines that have been framed by the photographer to draw attention towards the subject. In the image below the stem of the tulip draws your eye to the flower itself, using the 41% of viewers see the upper left corner first (as shown above on the rule of thirds) and then follow the line directly to the subject.

Background - This is probably my favorite because I love the create smooth, colorful backgrounds. To me it provides a calmness to the image, that hopefully the viewer will find soothing and want to hang out for a moment.

Filling the frame - This one is a favorite too because I love to get close and the closer you get the larger the image appears. In this image I've used the clematis to fill the entire frame. Placing the flower stem towards the lower left corner with the petals stretching across fills the entire frame with the flower. Another example would be to completely fill the frame with the flower as with the tulip below.

I hope the above examples help you with your composition. Trial and error, I've done it for years and I still do. I will try anything with an image because that's how I grow as a photographer. I learn from doing. Anything goes when you are learning, and you're learning for yourself. If it doesn't work for you, you can always delete it. I believe you will ultimately discover even though the rules of composition are a guideline, when you look at all the images you take you will discover that guideline or not you are drawn to the rules of composition as well. I did.

Be you when you're photographing. Photograph what you are drawn to and experiment.

Have a good rest of your week. Stay safe and healthy...Sally

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