Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Cool composition techniques

Kewaunee mist
Originally uploaded by James Jordan.
I shot this picture this past weekend while strolling along a beach in -25 degree windchills. What looks like a simple photo has a number of compositional techniques going on. You can use any one of these techniques alone, or combine them as I have to improve your pictures.

First, I established depth by capturing details throughout the foreground, middle ground and background of this photo. Next, I placed the lighthouse on a diagonal line from the top left to bottom right of the picture. Placing the subject of your photo on either of the diagonals of your picture will usually result in a pleasing composition.

I placed the lighthouse higher in the photo so that the diagonal line on which it sat met the diagonal of the foreground ice (more or less) near the lower right corner. The icy outcroppings in the middle ground forms a line that intersects the diagonal to create some visual tension, which was good, since there was nothing I could do about its placement.

So try establishing three zones of depth, placing your subject on a diagonal of the picture, then play around with converging diagonals and intersecting lines. You may just surprise yourself.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph copyright 2007, James Jordan.


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