Seizing Possibilities

Seizing Possibilities
Seizing Possibilities

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are rules really that important? Composition #art #photography #blog


Are rules really that important?

A good composition will be comprised of any number of the elements of art (line, shape, value, texture, and color) and may contain elements of the principles of art (movement and variation, balance, emphasis, space.)  Keep in mind, if your composition fails so does your work. 

I’m certain most of you have heard of the rules of composition for photography, it is all over the web.  Digital Photography School has an article here, and here are a few others, smashandpeas here, photography mad here and one for landscapes by DPS here, Light Stalking also has many good articles on the rules of photography composition as well here.  Knowing these “rules” as photographers like to call them isn’t quite enough though; go back to the common thread I have tried to weave through this series of blog posts.


Excitement contained...almost!


How does it make you feel?

Does it accomplish the goal you have set out to create in your work?  Does it convey and impact you or your viewer the way you want it to? What ambiance does it have? Does it create a means to trigger you to think?  Is it thought-provoking?  Does it motivate you to respond or move to action?  Are you trying to make a statement?

Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to convey here.  This is not a freedom to use this as an excuse for poor composition.  A good photograph or drawing will draw out in someone the essence of what you want to convey to them.  To artistically move beyond the rules you must first understand that they exist and they exist in good measure because those rules create pleasant viewing for the vast majority of people.  And remember the vast majority of people are your audience and have photographs they have hanging on their walls, even if they are hanging them too high for good viewing (which might be good to remember!)  What I want you to consider is how your use of the elements and principles of art create an evocative and desirable photograph.

Sailing Blue
A low horizon might be there to give a sense of wide open spaces or to bring about a scale of wonder or loneliness quite possibly to showcase an amazing sunset or sky that opens up to a feeling of peace or of beauty or wonder, contemplation or relaxation.  The mood you set in your photograph is largely based on the order or in the way you compose your work.   Size, scale, simplicity or clutter can all convey something in particular; this is what we as photographers or artists must be conscious of in our work and use it to bring what is inside of us to the outside viewing world.
Gliding in the Morning Light
Framing is everything!  I would encourage you to do this in camera and not post-processing.  This requires that you go out with purpose and an understanding in your own heart and mind’s eye of what you want to accomplish and what you want your work to evoke.  As you first start in photography and art there is a great learning curve.  You master your skills by practicing, we go out and shoot a lot; we learn the technical aspects of our craft and we keep on learning or as an artist who’s sketching never ends, no matter how long you have been an artist sketching is vital to being good.  The next time you go out to shoot photographs consider your composition in camera.  Cropping may work, but learn to crop when you take your photograph; it gives you more options in the end and simplifies your post processing.  If you are unsure, take it in several different ways.  If you have a prime lens, move your feet to get a good composition; if you have a zoom, use it to your advantage.  Don’t be a lazy photographer, be the best one you can be.

Tranquility

Threading the Needle
 Above all let your mind understand the technicalities, let your eyes see, let your heart feel, look inside yourself and you will be well on your way to perfecting your craft and your vision.  Composition is largely an intuitive act, how you put your frame together is what tells the tale and sells your idea, you determine how to direct your viewer.  Your work soon becomes the collision of dreams or ideas and reality!

Additional photographs can be seen on flickr here and G+ here.