Square format composition

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Rider, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Rider

    Rider TPF Noob!

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    I've recently purchased a Mamiya C-330. While I'm very familiar with the rule of thirds, sight distance, etc. as they apply to 35mm format composition, I'm wondering about composition as it applies to the square format of many medium format cameras. Lately I've seen many shots in the square format with the subject centered in the image. While that isn't the optimum composition in the rectangular format, it does seem to work in the square format.

    Now I'm wondering if there are any "rules" or SOP's for composition in the square format. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Thom
     
  2. J.Kendall

    J.Kendall TPF Noob!

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    I dabbled in Medium Format, 6x6, a year ago. I took one or two photos with a solid subject, and I agree that they look better centered than in 35mm. Have you tried to do any landscape/scenery shots yet? those look good too, as compared to how they look in 35mm film.
     
  3. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thom,
    Welcome to fun photography. Personally, on IQ, I think it outdoes digital. Except medium format hussy of course :)
    Frame your subject as you did before, when processing/printing if you are sending it to the lab they have to make adjustments. If you're developing your self, then you will crop during the process.
     
  4. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. Rider

    Rider TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone. I did a lot of B&W work years (OK, decades) ago with a Yashica TLR. I really enjoyed the processing and darkroom work. My primary interest in going back to medium format is in natural light portraiture. That isn't to say that I won't be shooting many other subjects as well, hence the question about composition.

    I'll be developing my own film and sending the the negatives out to be scanned. That way I can keep them organized right along with all of my digital images.

    That "Square Scotland" site is a goldmine. Thanks. (typo corrected)

    Thom
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  6. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy TPF Noob!

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    I think the Diagonal Theory of composition explains why bullet composition works well with 6x6.

    diagonal method
     
  7. Rider

    Rider TPF Noob!

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    Thanks K. I had never heard of the Diagonal Method, and I found that very interesting reading. Afterwards, I studied some of my photos and several other pieces of art by other (better) photographers and artists.
    Perhaps I reverse engineered the process, but I made note of the exact spot on each photo to which my eye was initially drawn. Mona Lisa's famous smile is a perfect example. I then applied a template to each image to see if, in fact, a diagonal line actually did pass through that point. In almost every example, one did. The diagonal method appears to be the real deal.
    Next, I opened some of my images that for some unknown reason just didn't seem quite right. I then cropped them so that the intended "focal point" was aligned with a diagonal line. Viola! The images (to my eye anyway) were instantly improved.
    Now I'm eager to try this method of composition through the viewfinder during an existing-light 6x6 portrait shoot that I have coming up.
    Thanks again,
    Thom
     

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