Photography 101 Part 2, Compositionby Kelly Paal
Now that you are beginning to understand how your camera works you can begin to understand basic composition. I know that many people that I've talked to think that photography is just pointing your camera and taking a photo but it's more than that. After you understand how your equipment works you can begin to get into the real art of photography and that art is called composition.
- Use all of your available space. Fill the image with the image. If the reason that your taking the photo is your daughter's beautiful face then get closer. If you're taking an image of the breathtaking valley before you. Fill the frame with the valley. Keep distractions out of the frame. They're called distractions for a reason.
- Look at the forms in your image. You almost have to look at the people or the landscape before you in their simplistic geographic forms. A good way to learn form is to practice taking photos of still life objects, that you can arrange into pleasing forms. A good photo is always a beautiful arrangement of form. Whether it's the beauty of a woman's face, her features being forms, or a wonderful landscape, trees, rocks, and hills being forms.
- Line or direction, motion. The direction of the forms in your photos is very important. Never have action or motion moving outside of your image. It will direct the eye away from your image. Diagonal motion lines are good, curves and "s" curves are better. The last two is probably way landscape photography is so popular nature is full of curves. Also never put a horizon line in the center of your frame.
- Contrast, the difference between black and white. Now it is possible to have a beautiful photo with little contrast if that is your intention, this works best with color. But a lot of shots, some really beautiful shots have a nice balance of black, white, and grays. This can be manipulated for artistic purpose of course, but in the beginning you want to focus on trying to take shots with equal amounts of black, white, and shades of gray. (Shoot a roll of B&W film to really learn this principle.)
- Color, you may have to familiarize yourself with the color wheel. (See my article Graphic Design Using Color for more information it's for graphic design but the first couple of paragraphs talk about basic color theory) Whether you're shooting nature or setting up your own shots in a studio you need to know what colors go together and why.