Composition is being thoughtful, bold and prepared to experiment. Example: a Photo of mine taken in Lisbon 2022. it received more than 1100 likes in the Facebook group “Street Photography Cartier-Bresson Inspired”. Significantly more than other images posted in this group.
1. Rule of thirds: Split the frame into thirds. Imagine a noughts and crosses board of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Position your subject on these lines, or where they intersect.
2. Diagonal and curved lines: lines bring dynamic and energy to your composition, providing a sense of depth when they converge, or crossover other lines.
3. Simplify the scene: Declutter the background to draw attention to the subject.
4. Frame your subject: Use a foreground as a frame for your subject.
5. Fill the frame: Too much “negative” or unused space might not work. Get close to your subject on these lines to fill the frame.
6. High or low: Experiment with a bird's eye view (get above the subject) or a worm's eye view (get below) to create a compelling perspective.
Reflect: Improve your composition by revisiting your work and studying the work of other photographers.
I think the best photos tell a story. but it is the viewer who decides which story is told. The viewer can be helped along the way by a photographer's technique, the composition of the picture, the location, or other things.
I prefer black and white and mostly go for what I see and my gut feeling. As a budding photographer, you don't always have to do what others say or think. You should trust yourself, give yourself time to develop your style, and stick to it. Don't copy others, but be inspired by them.
Inspired by the photographer Sean Tucker (@seantuck), I consider all my pictures as “visual notes”. A bit like a painter making sketches. Editing my photos is a separate chapter. I try to minimize it for cropping/composition and adjusting light/color/contrast (no filters). It doesn't always work out, but I try to learn from my mistakes. Recently I started experimenting with a more artistic expression. Now layers, masks and double exposure contribute to the narrative in the motif.
I often share my notes in groups on Facebook, but I don't count the number of likes or comments. Sometimes I get to take a picture that contains more than one layer. Layers meaning…
- something "aesthetic", perhaps exposure, light, shadow, composition, or colors
- an “object”, perhaps a person, a building, a thing, or an interesting topic
- a "moment", perhaps an event, a situation, or something else that creates special attention.
- "chemistry". a rare ingredient that makes the image magical or completely special. This layer often speaks to the viewer's emotions, without actually being able to define why.
My visual notes often only have 1 layer, e.g. something aesthetic or a moment.
Images with 2 layers are selected images that can be published in small editions, Typically photocopied or printed.
Special images, which contain 3 layers, may be worthy of publication e.g. a book or as a framed poster that can be sold.
Images that contain all 4 layers can gain wider recognition.
I don't go for likes or expect to get useful feedback on my visual notes. But I have patience, I practice, and wait until I have taken a picture that contains more than one layer. These are published on this site.
At the best I will only take a few legendary photos, over my lifetime...
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