CHANGE PER­SPEC­TIVE

Mas­ter in­no­va­tive com­po­si­tion op­tions for im­ages that show the world in a unique way

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Com­po­si­tion is the most fun­da­men­tal of pho­to­graphic skills, since de­ci­sions made dur­ing this process ul­ti­mately con­trol what view­ers see within the frame. Fram­ing de­ci­sions are more of an in­stinc­tive process than begin­ners of­ten re­alise, pos­si­bly be­cause of the many mis­con­cep­tions re­gard­ing the ‘rules’ of com­po­si­tion. While the Rule of Thirds and Golden Spi­ral are use­ful guides to ar­rang­ing ob­jects within the im­age, they are in­tended to help pho­tog­ra­phers work with the ma­jor­ity of av­er­age sit­u­a­tions. In fact, there are many oc­ca­sions when it is bet­ter to de­vi­ate from the stan­dard for­mu­lae and build a cre­ative com­po­si­tion on a scene-spe­cific ba­sis.

A key pro­fes­sional skill is recog­nis­ing when to make this de­par­ture, which should be con­sid­ered when at­tempt­ing to ar­range com­plex scenes that fail to fit the spa­tial re­quire­ments for the stan­dard rules. In other cir­cum­stances, it is pos­si­ble to in­ten­tion­ally mis­ap­ply these for pur­poses of di­rect­ing viewer fo­cus. When plan­ning any im­age, start by plac­ing key ar­eas ac­cord­ing to stan­dard prac­tice, then ex­am­ine how the com­po­si­tion can be im­proved for greater im­pact and orig­i­nal­ity. Al­ter the fo­cal length, cam­era height, an­gle and ori­en­ta­tion to make the frame fit the cur­rent scene, or al­ter­na­tively, vary the na­tive as­pect ra­tio to help the scene fit your de­sired com­po­si­tion. These in­verse philoso­phies cover any po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­ment and al­low the pho­tog­ra­pher to im­pose their cre­ative am­bi­tions on the sub­ject. While al­ter­ing your ap­proach to fit a scene is ef­fec­tive at gen­er­at­ing ‘cor­rect’ com­po­si­tions that fol­low the rules, for your cre­ativ­ity to truly flour­ish, lo­ca­tion el­e­ments must be made to work for you.

For ev­ery ob­ject, choose how you want it to fit within the wider scene and de­cide if it is ac­tu­ally re­quired. Fo­cal length and cam­era po­si­tion can be used to ex­clude ex­tra­ne­ous items from the frame to limit con­text or re­di­rect the main area of viewer at­ten­tion. Al­ter­na­tively in­clude ar­eas, but ob­scure con­text, via the use of depth of field and per­spec­tive com­pres­sion. Cre­ative mo­ti­va­tion can be aided by work­ing in re­verse to con­ven­tional think­ing – aim to pro­duce ar­rest­ing neg­a­tive space, to pro­vide a dra­matic en­vi­ron­ment to com­ple­ment your sub­ject.

AboveAGAINST THE GRAIN IM­AGES THAT DO NOT CON­FORM TO THE USUAL PHO­TO­GRAPHIC RULES CAN MAKE THE MOST OF A SUB­JECT’S GRAPHIC PROP­ER­TIES, SUCH AS THIS AREA OF RED CLOSE TO THE FRAME EDGES

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