Composition vs Technique

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by UMarius, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. UMarius

    UMarius TPF Noob!

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    A few days ago, i argued with someone whether the photographic composition is more important than the photographic technique.
    I stand that both have an equal importance, but composition without technique is null...
    What is your opinion?
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    My position is that composition is part of photographic technique* so the question is redundant. It's a bit like asking whether the engine is more important than the car ;)


    * I think your problem lies with you not having defined your interpretation of 'photographic technique'. But I'm sure it's not going to deter others from wading in :lol:
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    is that composition is technique.

    You can't speak without grammar, no matter how bad your grammar is. :)
     
  4. UMarius

    UMarius TPF Noob!

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    my translation of the subject was pretty poor. trough composition he meant something like "placement or arrangement, point of view, perspective of elements in the photo". trough technique i meant using the a camera to it's full potential. I argued that it's not enough to have a good "composition", press the button and that's it, you have a great picture.
     
  5. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    for me they are connected. one without the other is a miss.

    i like Hertz comment about the engine/car.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is only not true if it's false. Sounds stupid yes, but what I mean is it is perfectly good enough if your camera metres the scene correctly and has a shutter speed / aperture suitable for what you are after.

    There have been many cases where I've just looked through, clicked, and come up with wonders. But plenty of other times where I have had to drop my camera into manual to achieve what I want.

    I don't think there is a "technique" to photography other than how you hold the camera. The only other thing you can do is learn what the camera settings do, and then you're back to composition.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    And that means using composition as well, so composition is a part of technique by that definition. The argument is, as I said, pointless because the question has no meaning.


    As for there being a 'technique'...
    Technique is generally defined as "a procedure used to accomplish a specific activity or task".
    If the task/activity is to take a picture then the procedure will include things like selecting subject, choice of focal length and framing, exposure and so forth.
    We will each have our own preferences - favourite lens, preferred PoV, exposure preferences and so on. We will also have our preferred way of framing the subject - composition if you will. And our preferred choice of subject.
    Over time and with practice we will develop a number of techniques for photographing different subjects in different situations so that we get the results that we want or like. This is usually called 'style' and differentiates one photographer from another.
    To illustrate:
    Ansel Adams and Bill Brandt had completely different styles because they used different techniques.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    This is not really open to discussion. It was decided a half century ago by the major photographic associations in several countries.

    Composition is the elements of design as applied to photography. They come originally from the art area.

    Technique is the technical aspects of photography as in lighting, exposure, shutterspeed, filter, tripod, flash use, focus, depth of field, etc. used to add impact to the centre of interest.

    Both are equally important and both are used to critique and evaluate photos for contests, display, publication etc.

    This is not an opinion. This is how photography is judged and has been judged for the past 50 or more years. I should know.

    skieur
     
  9. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    "Composition is the strongest way of seeing." - Weston

    Which only relates to technique in the sense that is what is used to convey a composition, vision and style. Technique can be taught, composition should never be taught and only at the sacrifice of the creative spirit.

    Composition, style and vision are things that emerge in ones work over time, they are not things you try to incorporate. Especially as an artist or aspiring one, perhaps for a commercial photographer but even so you will only produce what has been done before or a cliche. Ones compositional strategies (while informed by intelligence, these are not intellectualized) determine ones style, which in turn defines vision.
     
  10. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Any art including photography and the compositional aspect can be taught but only the talented can reach beyond a certain level of achievement. Having taught the intellectually gifted and talented during one of my careers, I know that from personal experience and don't need to refer to the views of others.

    Applying the elements of design or composition never results in clichés because there are so many possible decisions to be made that one cannot help but decide on a personal basis. My students may have used the rules of composition but I could always recognize their individual style and vision and I encouraged their individual approaches. Nevertheless no one rationalized ignoring basic design in the name of creativity because the result demonstrated what poor quality was all about.

    skieur
     
  11. JC1220

    JC1220 TPF Noob!

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    Certainly "composition" can be taught, I said it never should be taught to aspiring artists, only an uncreative person would do that. Compostion as an artist has nothing to do with rules, guidelines, design elements, et al, it is done by feel and intuition. Don't take this view as that one should not have a strong understanding of art history, specifically the history of photography, but that should not influence how one works.

    You say "Applying the elements of design or composition never results in clichés because there are so many possible decisions to be made that one cannot help but decide on a personal basis."

    Our approach to photography is vastly different, with this approach one may make a good picture, perhaps something quite clever, but because you have choosen "the way" you have made something more superficial than one is capable of making, it does not come from the heart and soul of who you are and an ongoing interaction of your world; it came from choosing a style and the resultant will most likely never stand the test of time and live with the greats.

    As an aside, were you serious about saying "Photographic associations" have defined what composition is or is not? It can be hard to discern tone on the internet...
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Technique is the be-all-end-all. It is your vocabulary.
     

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