Need a little help on composition

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bdavis, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I was taking some photos last night just to test my camera and play with the settings, but later on I was reviewing them and decided that I didn't like them as much as I previously thought. I then decided that my composition could use a little work.

    Does anyone know of some tips that would help me out besides just going out and shooting?

    Also if anyone knows of any good books/online articles that are a good read, that would be great as well.
     
  2. Eldrich

    Eldrich TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central PA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I recently read The New Manual of Photography by John Hedgecoe. It has a section on technical aspects, like focal lengths, etc, and exposure tips, and then it has a fairly large section on the 'art of photography' where it talks a lot about compositional tips for different subjects. It is written in a style that has exactly one tip/suggestion for each two pages, so its easy to read because you can read it for 5 minutes and put it down, and you can read just one section at a time if you want.
     
  3. tinfish

    tinfish TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Amarillo
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    bdavis,
    I did a quick search on Google and found this article. It is pretty basic, but gives a nice simple explanation of some good techniques regarding composition. Composition link. I would also check the galleries of some photographers that you admire. See how they are framing their photos. Where is their subject, how are they working with foreground/background, etc. Also you can check out some art. Painters lay out their work in a way that is pleasing to the eye, which is basically what composition is all about.
    Good luck.
     
  4. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks for the advice. Looks like I have some reading to do. I do know the basics like the rule of thirds, leading lines, etc but when I go out and shoot I just don't like any images I produce. I guess there really isn't anything fascinating where I live. I'm out in the middle of nowhere.
     
  5. Eldrich

    Eldrich TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central PA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Reading helps, but I also like Tinfish's suggestion to look at photos or art that you do like, and then study it and try to analyze why you like it. I have found it very rewarding to mimic shots that others do that I like. It's kind of like copying, but its very interesting and helpful.
     
  6. saycheese76

    saycheese76 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Here is a link to a review of "The Photographer's Eye". FWIW, it is the best book on composition that I have come across.
     
  7. nickisonfire

    nickisonfire TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NYC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    well I know whenever I'm composing something I think to myself "can I get a better angle/position on this subject" 90% of the time i say yes and I try to change my position, meaning I might have to get above/below the subject, closer/further away etc.
     
  8. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I was looking at that book and thinking about getting it. I've bought photo books before and been disappointed with some of them, so I as hoping to hear from someone that has that book.

    As far as having reference images, I have hundreds of photos on my computer from photographers like I like. I have them broken up into categories like people, animals, landscapes, cars, macro, abstract, etc. I look at them a lot and try to mimic what I see, but I just don't think I have very interesting subjects.

    I might have to take a day off from work and have a "photo day" where I just run around town and take pictures, maybe that will give me the practice I need.
     
  9. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,106
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I agree. I haven't bought this yet, but I plan too and have thumbed it a few times in the bookstore. It's the best composition book I've come across by a long shot.
     
  10. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Great, I might have to check it out.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Here's a list of links to many online articles Photography Composition Articles Library

    Look to the other arts as well. The same concepts that make for good composition in a painting work in a photograph, and the painters have been at it a lot longer.

    If you've got a college with an art program nearby take Drawing 101 and Basic Design classes. They'll do more for improving your compositional skills than any amount of reading.
     
  12. Just keep looking at images. Try to understand why you like them.
     

Share This Page