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Composition Disrupting Symmetry

Switzerland photography workshop zurich

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Zurich photography workshopComposition is in the eye of the beholder. Symmetry in a composition looks stunning with geometric shapes and lines. But how about breaking or disrupting symmetry? What one person loves another will hate.

We had a disruptive image on my Zurich Masterclass in 2015, which completely split the group. Not only was the symmetry of composition disrupted, so was everyone on the workshop.

Folks either loved it or hated it. No one was ambivalent about it. And guess who took it? Yep, me. I was a disruptive influence in school and I guess I still am at times in photography too.

Sometimes when we shoot an image we have a clear pre-visualisation of what we want to achieve in camera. I did when I shot this one. I knew I’d have to remove the disruptive element in Photoshop and would end up with a nice symmetrical image.

But, on seeing it on screen I completely changed my mind. Suddenly the things that bugged me about the composition when I captured it had flipped 180 degrees. I loved them and as far as I’m concerned, the disrupted symmetry is what makes it interesting.

There is no right or wrong composition, there’s only what works for the person who’s taking the picture. When you’re learning photography, this is a very difficult concept for a new photographer to grasp. We want rules to follow. But creative photography doesn’t work like that.

Sure we have the basic ‘rules’ of composition like thirds, diagonals, leading lines etc. to help people get started. And they mostly work well. But as you grow and learn you don’t have to please anyone except yourself, you’ll get brave and find yourself starting to break the rules on purpose. Which is what I did with this composition. Loads of beautiful symmetry, completely disrupted with a couple of twigs.

When I went to film this video, my intention was to concentrate on the composition element only. But the light wasn’t great and the exposure very tricky. It was an exposure that had to be properly though through or the highlights would be burnt out and too bright and shadows blacked out.

In lighting situations like these I always use my histogram to ensure I’m capturing maximum data in the RAW file. Which cam be brought to life in Lightroom later.

Our eyes don’t see light the same way a camera does, so you have to pay attention to what’s going on when making an exposure such as this. Eyes cannot be trusted, but histograms never lie.

So you have to use your 7 Building Blocks of Photography. Ask yourself powerful questions as you assemble them in the correct order to achieve the image you want. If you know me by now, you’ll know I’m big on thinking like a photographer because no matter how expensive your camera is. It needs you.

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commasopencommasclose I picked up a camera last June, watched your free videos which got me understanding the basics, then I bought your Beginners course. Recently I purchased your 7 Building Blocks Course, which I’ve just completed. Thanks to your teaching, I was a runner up in your Black and White competition last month. My photography has improved vastly.
- Beverly Evans -

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Comments

Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No twigs
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 20:34
No twigs
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No twigs
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 20:48
No twigs
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Like
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 21:07
Like
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
I like both.............sorry
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 21:26
I like both.............sorry
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
My vote is to disrupt the symmetry, keep the twigs in.
I differently agree in the removal of the metal box (end of wharf). Some bureaucrats idea of function and stuff the beauty trippy!

Cheers,
Harley De Vaux III
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 21:46
My vote is to disrupt the symmetry, keep the twigs in.
I differently agree in the removal of the metal box (end of wharf). Some bureaucrats idea of function and stuff the beauty trippy!

Cheers,
Harley De Vaux III
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Like the twigs, yes!
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 21:56
Like the twigs, yes!
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No Twigs
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 22:17
No Twigs
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
I would have to say No twigs as they distract the eye but each to their own.
(maybe next time a pair of secateurs in your pocket will sort it out)
Regards
Tony Duke
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 22:50
I would have to say No twigs as they distract the eye but each to their own.
(maybe next time a pair of secateurs in your pocket will sort it out)
Regards
Tony Duke
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
A lovely photo Mike but I'd go with: no twigs, however if you had added more twigs then I'd like it better.
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 23:15
A lovely photo Mike but I'd go with: no twigs, however if you had added more twigs then I'd like it better.
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
I definitely vote on the twigs, a very nice and subtle extra.
Best,
Peter Sussex
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 23:22
I definitely vote on the twigs, a very nice and subtle extra.
Best,
Peter Sussex
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
LIKE!
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 23:22
LIKE!
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Like! At first I thought they were annoying, but when you showed the photo without them, it seemed too perfect.
Deneen T.
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 23:33
Like! At first I thought they were annoying, but when you showed the photo without them, it seemed too perfect.
Deneen T.
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No twigs.
Anonymous 18, Jun 2016 @ 23:55
No twigs.
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
twigs.
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 00:17
twigs.
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No twigs for me thank you...
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 00:40
No twigs for me thank you...
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
No Twigs
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 01:13
No Twigs
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Twigs
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 02:22
Twigs
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Keep the "bad boys" the twigs. They add an element of interest and wonderment. Like!
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 03:58
Keep the "bad boys" the twigs. They add an element of interest and wonderment. Like!
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Undecided on the twigs as to wether or not to bi included or left out, But i have to say both work
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 08:08
Undecided on the twigs as to wether or not to bi included or left out, But i have to say both work
Composition Disrupting Symmetry
Twigs
Anonymous 19, Jun 2016 @ 08:57
Twigs
1

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