Thoughts Related to Composition

The following is an extract from a critique I left with this post. It’s repeated here because I’m not sure how many are following my suggestion to read every comment  – where many things that maybe I should have said in a lesson, but didn’t, are “revealed” for the first time. 😉

The extract’s message is that when you attempt creative techniques,  you should be bold. Half way measures often appear to be mis-steaks mistakes. You don’t want viewers to look at your image and think that you made a careless error. 🙁

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These observations were prompted by the middle image of the referenced post. As a general rule with all images – not just motion or other creative types – the photographer should endeavor to make his/her intentions obvious & clear otherwise viewers may think – “mistake“. Common examples include –

1) A horizon should be either perfectly horizontal or totally “out of whack”. Being off a little bit says “mistake”.
2) If part of a person’s body is to be cut off by the frame, make it a big chunk. At least a hand if not more & not just a finger. The top of the head down to nearly the eyebrows and not just a “scalping”. Etc.
3) Make certain that the viewer knows that you meant to do “whatever” and that it wasn’t a careless mistake. Being “just a little bit off” doesn’t accomplish your mission.
4) And a repeat of something mentioned before, the guidelines for good composition (of which 1 & 2 are but examples), aren’t “waived” just because you’ve decided to “go creative” with motion or whatever in making your image.

0 thoughts on “Thoughts Related to Composition”

  1. Travis,
    Your guess is probably on the mark on both counts – accenting the eyes by moving them from the center. Here’s a “top 10” item that mentions 10 ways to make creative portraits. Several, especially #9, fit what you ask.
    http://digital-photography-school.com/10-ways-to-take-stunning-portraits
    The Afghan Girl, top National Geographic cover of all time, is a cropped head – and what eyes! (almost exactly 1/3 down from the top if you’re a “rule” of thirds person). http://www.wickedreport.com/images/Top10WorldMostFamousPhotos_01.jpg
    And then there’s Dorthea Lange’s Migrant Mother which is totally conventional with the mother, but chops off the children.
    http://enticingthelight.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/dorothea-lange-migrant-mother.jpg
    All about style.

  2. Ed, Quick question that’s been bothering me for a long time. Why, in so many portrait shots, casual ‘head’ shots, etc. does the photographer cut off the top of someone’s head? I see it too often, especially in adverts for it to be a mistake. I’m thinking it’s to accent the eyes – move them from the ‘center’ of the image. Just curious.
    Travis

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