Friday, April 20, 2012

Starting to think within the frames

-A bit more about sections and composition

EXIF: f/20 - 1/60 - 60mm- ISO200 - Flash/compulsory
I can't pinpoint the day, or shoot when it really hit me how important it is to compose the photos. This knowledge grew on me, and in the beginning I composed purely on intuition. Later on I have read the theory, and see that many of my good intuitive shots are following the rules of sectioning and composition. And the bad...well, bad intuition.

Now, I can't help my self for thinking in frames no matter what I look at. Any of you seen Alice in Wonderland the Tim Burton version? I love that film, but what makes this film interesting in this case is the unique use of absolute thoroughly convincing picture frames from start to finish! It's a study in composition and sectioning. 

In pop music it's pretty obvious that you have to compose to create a great melody, but you also have to follow a set of rules -you have the verses, the chorus and maybe a bridge. 

The river Glomma at it's end in Fredrikstad, Norway
EXIF: f/9 - 1/60 - 20mm - ISO200 -WB/Cloudy
In the post "Diagonal Flower Power" I talked about the use of diagonals as a trick to lead the viewers eye through the shot. In landscape photography you can use roads, or rivers to make diagonals or to take the viewer straight into the photo.

Somehow I think diagonals from bottom left to top right works better than bottom right to top left. I don't know why, maybe it's because I am used to read from left to right? Any of you have theories on this I'll be happy to hear from you.

In the waterglass photo on top, the diagonal is "cut". It moves from the center of the shot to the top left. This works better than a diagonal that moves all the way.

Repetition is also a trick to remember when it comes to photo composition. To repeat shape, or elements in a certain order will make the image look more graphic. I think this photo from Pierre Andrews Flickr photostream is a great example of both diagonal thinking and repetition. There's a whole group on Flickr dedicated to pattern photography if you need inspiration.

EXIF: f/5 - 1/60 - 50mm - ISO100- WB/shadow
Many times, however, you are set to photograph one single item; a flower, a person or a car. This is the times you decide where to put the "object" in the frame. Take a look at the portrait to the right. Why did I cut the top of the head of the model? And why does it work? In this case I have used two different rules. First I have placed the model within 2/3 of the shot from left to right. The last 1/3 is "empty", or air as I like to call it. And second, and this is why I can cut my models head top off and get away with it, I have placed her eye precicely in the center on the 1/3 line from the top.

If you don't believe me, look at the lines in the photo to the right.

The trick with the eye is just a fraction of what you need to know about portraits of course, but it's such a great tip that I know you'll test it. You can of course place the eye in the line crossing on either side as well.

One last thing; as you've been reading this blog you've probably started to get that photography is not about "snaps" or "clicks". Photography is about carefully planning everything from light, section, frames, dept of field and a number of other things that I haven't talked about yet. So let's get rid of the therms "clicks" and "snaps" once and for all when talking about photography. Am I right?

So there you have it- my friday blog post about thinking within the frame!

Have a great friday!

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