Composition

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Orrin, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. Orrin

    Orrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Composition is the arrangement of elements in a photograph. These elements include line, shape, space, and tone or color. Composition has no fixed rules because it is basically a matter of individual taste. However, some guidelines for the use of the various elements of composition may help you create the kind of photograph desired.

    There are two principal kinds of lines in photography, real lines and implied lines. Real lines are physically visible. For example, telephone poles and the edges of buildings form real lines. Implied lines are created by nonphysical factors, such as a pointing gesture or a person's gaze.

    Both real lines and implied lines can be used to direct a viewer's eye to various parts of a picture. In most effective photographs, the lines draw attention to the main subject. The
    direction of these lines can also be used to reinforce the mood of a picture. Vertical lines, such as those of a tower or a tall tree, may convey a sense of dignity and grandeur. Horizontal lines tend to suggest peace and stillness, and diagonal ones may emphasize energy and tension.

    Shape is the chief structural element in the composition of most photographs. It enables the viewer to immediately recognize the objects in a picture. Shape also adds interest to composition. The shape of such objects as rocks and seashells is interesting in itself. A combination of different shapes provides variety. For example, an outdoor scene can be made more interesting by contrasting the jagged shape of a fence with the soft curves of
    hills and clouds.

    Space is the area between and surrounding the objects in a photograph. Space can be used to draw attention to the main subject and to isolate details in the picture. However, large amounts of space tend to detract from a picture's interest. A general principle for the use of space is that it should not occupy more than a third of the photo.

    Tone or color adds depth to the composition of a photograph. Without this element, the shapes and spaces in a picture would appear flat. In black-and-white photography, the colors of objects are translated into tones of black, gray, and white. These tones help establish the mood of a picture. If light tones dominate the photo, the mood may seem happy and playful. A picture with many dark tones may convey a sense of sadness or
    mystery.

    Color, like tone, carries an emotional message. In a color photograph, such bright colors as red and orange create an impression of action and energy. Blue, green, and other softer
    colors are more restful to the eye and may suggest a feeling of peace. According to many professional photographers, a color picture should have one dominant color and a balance between bright colors and softer shades.
     
  2. jdunphy

    jdunphy TPF Noob!

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    I feel like I'm back in Art 110 - Design and Gestalt Principles! :shock:

    Honestly, though. I started taking photos seriously about six months ago. The process was made significantly easier by a painting and design background. Almost any art class, especially a graphic design course, will help many photographers to "know what to look for." There are a number of books on the subject, ranging from basic primers to hundreds of pages of the stuff! I'm sure almost any library will have a good section on design principles. If Orrin's post has anybody interested, go grab some books. It helped me to look through the lens in a different way.

    I'm still learning when it comes to photography, but I just graduated from college last year, so I must know everything. ;)
     
  3. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    Quite a while back I posted on another forum this advice;

    If you can, photography something, then draw it in pencil. Paint it if needed even ink draw it. Learn as much behind the behavior of light as possible, and the concept of composition will fall into place.

    Keep in mind that I am a drafter as well, and I make pretty little pictures on a daily basis. I feel that if one can practice as much of various related art forms as possible, the technique, form and composition will fall into place almost automatically, and the artist will greatly enhance their own abilities.


    But thats just me.
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    You also need to factor in that tastes change... But they will always change again in the future... things I was taught were absolute no nos now appear on the galleries here regularly. It hits me like nails on a blackboard, but by the comments they are considered as wonderful so obviously I'm out of touch... Hopelessly old school it seems..
     

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