The Art of Composing Photos

The Art of Composing Photos

It only seems sense to introduce our core topic in the first article of our new Mastering Composing series. I’ll explain the definition of “composition” in art in general in this essay for beginning photographers. Also, I will briefly go over the purpose of composition, what a good composition is, and why it is an essential component of any work of art. I’ll give you a short quiz at the conclusion of this post as a teaser for what’s to come in subsequent ones.

1) Composition in General

Not just the visual arts but also music, dance, literature, and essentially all other forms of art fall under the umbrella of composition. This term may not be as common in some areas, such as writing, but it is still legitimate. The word “composition” has two distinct but related meanings in general.

The term “composition” initially refers to the arrangement of related objects and components in a piece of art. As a result, composition is an important component of a good work of art. The significance of composition cannot really be overstated. Any prospective artist should pay close attention to how his work is composed. A good composition has just the right amount of detail. A work of art loses important detail that enables accurate interpretation when it has too few elements. Moreover, it throws off an image’s balance. Also, having too many components might be quite distracting. Proper balance is necessary for successful composition. It is advisable to confirm that all the components are required for the concept or story you are trying to pass on. 

Composition is sometimes used to refer to the finished piece of art itself. For instance, the phrase “This composition…” can be used to discuss a specific artwork or performance. Such a concept broadly applies to both paintings and music, whose makers are referred regarded as composers.

2) Composition in Photography

Knowing what “composition” means in general now makes understanding what it means in photography much easier. Composing an image simply involves placing its components in a way that best supports the primary idea or objective of your creation. The real movement of the objects or topics might be used to arrange the pieces. Photography of still life or portraits is a wonderful illustration in this situation. Street photography requires patience because the photographer typically cannot move the subjects themselves; instead, they must wait for them to assume the best position within the frame. You can also rearrange the elements by shifting yourself in the process. Such a method is appropriate in situations where the photographer is unable to physically move anything, such as when taking landscape photographs.

Composition is a technique for drawing attention to the most crucial components of your artwork, sometimes in a very specific order. Even the most uninteresting things and people in the most uninteresting situations can be transformed into masterpieces by an effective composition. Contrarily, a poor composition can entirely spoil a picture, regardless of how intriguing the subject is. Unlike to typical and simple exposure or white balance mistakes, a badly chosen composition is also rarely something that can be corrected in post-processing. Only when tighter framing and the removal of certain areas of the image are the best course of action can cropping sometimes save a photograph. Because of this, choosing your composition carefully before taking a picture is an essential step.

Composition is significantly influenced by the focal length, aperture, and angle at which you choose to hold your camera in relation to your subject. When the background and foreground are blurred, for instance, the significance of the objects put there is effectively diminished. Moreover, it will frequently provide more obvious corner shading (vignetting), which will aid in keeping the viewer’s eye inside the frame for longer. On the other side, narrowing the aperture would sharpen more details, which could improve the balance of the image. How so? But not usually, “sharper,” more in-focus things may draw more attention than a hazy shape (see image sample below). A skilled photographer will employ every tool at their disposal to produce the desired outcome. It is important to note that defocusing foreground or background items does not eliminate their role in the picture’s overall composition. Straightforward forms, tones, shadows, highlights, and colors are all effective compositional elements.

3) The Goal of Composition

One could presume that an eye-pleasing composition is one that is good. Hence, a good composition should have as its objective to present your subject or item in a favorable, aesthetically acceptable way. Yet, such an opinion is somewhat flimsy. Not all works of art are meant to make the viewer feel good or lovely. Some artists aim to convey more powerful, distinct thoughts, and compositional decisions and the subject matter help them do that. For instance, an artist will select a composition that is the least “natural” and create something surprising and shocking if he wants the audience to feel uneasy or frightened. War photography is a prime example of this type of creative endeavor, in which the photographer attempts to convey to the audience the horrific and devastating nature of war. On the other side, a combat victim may be portrayed by an artist in a way that is both horribly beautiful and flattering. By doing this, he would grotesquely and sarcastically underscore the horrible essence of combat. So, a good composition should ultimately enable the artist express their thought through the appropriate ways.

4) Assignment for Beginners

Beginner photographers who want to actively learn alongside other readers and assist in the creation of these articles should complete this straightforward assignment.

List the basic compositions (or just “types”) that you are familiar with. Just one kind should be listed, and you should avoid reiterating those that have already been mentioned. It’s best if you avoid using Google, test your knowledge, and patiently await the upcoming articles:) An example of one of the most straightforward basic composition kinds is seen in the figure below.

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