This post’s title is the subtitle of my blog
The 4-C’s capture the essence of photography
Mastering them is key to making good images
Although all four are important
Composition plays an especially key role
Paintings provide a road map to good composition
The purpose of this post is to introduce WikiPaintings
A source of nearly 100,000 paintings
Georgia & Me
A Georgia O’Keefe Painting & A Photo of Mine
My photo processed using Topaz Simplify Painting Preset
(otherwise as captured)
Captured before seeing the Georgia O’Keefe painting
I’ll buy a white calla lily and see how close I can come
Subject off-centered toward top of frame
Note the nearly equidistant spacing at top and both sides
This spacing is something that I almost always try for
Apart from the stem, the compositions are similar
Composition – arrangement of visual elements in a picture space
Good composition does this in an aesthetically pleasing manner
If you learn well by example,
You should spend time viewing images –
But not just photos
IMO, paintings offer wonderful composition learning examples
If you’re not familiar with WikiPaintings, you’re in for a treat
Examine some paintings, especially of masters.
Observe how they
Arrange their visual elements in the picture space
Move the viewer’s eye
Use color, tones, texture
Can you see a relationship between these factors and an artist’s style (beyond content such van Gogh and sunflowers)?
What sets apart an O’Keeffe from a Monet from a van Gogh from a ….
Consider a personal project where you attempt to mimic a painting you admire through your camera
I plan to try imitations of several Georgia O’Keeffe flower paintings
Follow that project with one where you attempt to mimic the style – but not any specific painting
The above is not to downplay the other three C’s.
Far from it, however composition plays a major role in making a good image AND is almost 100% under your control
Craftsmanship (exposure, focus, color, etc.) is a no-brainer with today’s technology.
The measure of good craftsmanship isn’t subjective; if you messed up it’s obvious to everyone
If your image is not well crafted it’s your fault for not knowing your equipment
There’s no substitute for RTFM & practice; even a caveman can do it
Creativity – Some people are more creative than others
Ask yourself “Have I seen this before?”
Yes? – not creative; try something else
Communication – Telling a story or “Does it sing to me?”
Very subjective and varies from viewer to viewer
Unlike Craftsmanship where 100% of viewers will know you erred, you will never get a unanimous (or even close) opinion on the story told (not only what, but how well)
Composition is totally within your control and you get no help from technology
Good or bad composition can make or break your image regardless of your creativity and story telling
Check out how the masters do it – they must know something 😉
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