Break the rules
James Paterson liberates himself from the constraints of conventional composition…
Six compositions that break the normal ‘rules’ for landscape shots
When it comes to composing a landscape photo there are a multitude of rules we’re instructed to follow. There’s the rule of thirds, which states that we should place interesting objects on the ‘third’ lines within the frame. Then there’s the ‘foreground interest’ rule, which has us all scrambling around to find an attractive rock or plant to include in the foreground of our shot. We must also keep our horizons straight, eliminate ‘dead space’, and avoid placing our subject dead-centre.
Often, by following these rules we’ll end up with a great photo. But if we simply apply them by rote to every scene we come across, we run the risk that all of our images will start to look very similar, and probably very similar to other photographers’ shots as well. So here’s a challenge for you. Go out and look for six totally different compositions in one location. Look for unconventional angles, and manoeuvre your subject around the frame in interesting ways.
It can be rather liberating to shoot what feels right for that particular location, in that light, at that moment, rather than squeezing the scene in front of you into a conventionally ‘good’ composition. It might lead to a killer shot or a complete dud, but one thing it certainly won’t lead to is a series of photographs that were pre-planned in your head before you even set eyes on the location.
We went to Strumble Lighthouse in Pembrokeshire on a mission to look for new and interesting angles at a popular photography spot. Here are the results, and a few suggestions to get you started on your own challenge. And remember, the only rule is: there are no rules!
Here’s a challenge for you. Go out and look for six totally different compositions in one location. Look for unconventional angles, and manoeuvre your subject around the frame