Composition or Decomposition, that is the question!

Composition is the most creative portion of photography. There are some basic rules that one needs to follow depending on the style of photography but there is also a lot of just pure creativity involved to draw attention to your photographs. You want to make people see what you see.

The “Rule of Thirds” is very important to know. One does not want to put their subject in dead center. That is boring! Rule of third will draw more attention to your subjects and photographs and make them visually pleasing as well.

A photograph is two-dimensional and we can bring out the third dimension if we work with leading lines and elements in the photograph, which will draw more attention as well. This can also be achieved using depth of field.

I move around my subject a lot to try to find the right viewpoint that I am trying to shoot. I switch lenses sometimes to see what different points of view are out there for the subject I am trying to photograph.

Balancing images is not the same as having everything on the left and right be the same. It subject can be in the center but there should be harmony in the picture and other parts need to complement each other. This is frequently done in architectural photographs as seen below. This looks to be in dead center but not boring at all.

Other compositional techniques are used in post-production, for instance, cropping images. Cropping is available on every smartphone. I use Lightroom exclusively for my processing and workflow. These two pictures were taken differently first horizontally, then vertically. Look at how they draw attention using cropping as another tool for composition of a photograph.

Finally, there are so many ways to get creative to get the perfect compositions. Over time one can develop an eye for subjects or scenes. I am always thinking about it. You have to be ready and sometimes get down and get dirty! A few weeks ago I was on a photo trip for a couple of days to Bishop, CA, and was driving and saw this very small patch of Wheat on the side of the road with beautiful mountain backdrops. Instantly I shot an image on my head, I drove back to find that stop to take my shot. I do not think it turned out great but I tried. The other picture is the round parking lot of Bank of America in Charlotte, NC. I parked the car there and saw how beautiful it is and had an instant idea of an image. I walked all the way down and jumped 4 feet as well to be at the bottom portion and laid down on the dirty cement floor and shot that with my iPhone upwards.

So we covered some basics. We will discuss some gear next and dive into my favorite types of photography. Have you bought your cameras yet? Do you plan to? Hope you are learning something so far.

Author: Kouros Farro

I am a family physician, educator, and photographer who loves landscape photography.

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