When someone presents an image to you, and the first thing that happens is your breath catches and you find yourself making sounds reminiscent of when you were a toddler, you can bet the photographer has created something that is strong and emotive. There are many aspects of a particular image that allow you to have that emotional response, one of them is clearly good composition. What is composition you may ask? That would be an excellent question! Composition is the way in which the subject matter in a picture is composed; in other words how the photographer has chosen to portray its elements in the viewfinder.
When I help people with their composition I put it to them as this: Try to imagine your picture as a teeter totter, too much weight on one side or the other and it can cause issues! Good balance is where it’s at. This is where it’s up to you to treat your camera like it’s an extension of your creative mind and find the compositional balance that portrays your image the strongest.
In the image on the right I’ve used the cracks in the ice to characterize my subject matter. In leading the viewer from the left side bottom corner the middle piece of ice is framed by both the left and right fractures. There is a feeling of balance and story-telling. This is vital to allow the viewer to explore the image and not feel as though there is something ‘off’ about it. Once that happens the photographer has failed to make the image as strong as they possibly can.
In the next image, a coastal scene on Hornby Island, BC, I’ve accomplished compositional balance with the path on the right and the strongest part of the sunrise on the left. The path also looks to be leading into the sunrise which gives the picture another element of interest. If the light wouldn’t have been strongest on the left side, there may have been an imbalance, which once again would have been detrimental.
The cover image contains strong water flow on the left, once again as a ‘leading line’ which appears to be flowing into the sunset. I’ve also used the dark areas in the bottom right and top left to help with balance. In all three images I’ve used those leading lines to not only strengthen the images but also to tell a story. This allows for the viewer to imagine something; what that might is up to them 🙂 It’s your job to present your subject matter in a way that allows them to do that through compositional balance, leading lines and ultimately a great image!
To see more of my work, please go to my Portfolio page here