Composition and Framing

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

When framing a composition always think about how you want tom position the elements of the photo. Great images rarely just ‘happen’ by accident. It’s the photographer’s responsibility to not only spot something interesting in the first place, they have to think why it’s appealing and how to portray that.

So how do you do it? You have to consider the various elements you’re looking at, the things which attracted you in the first place and ask yourself why they attracted you.

Our eyes and brains can often deceive us. We see the bits we like and completely miss other elements which could actually trash our photo if they are not first noticed, then dealt with appropriately.

To do it, remember to look all around your viewfinder as you compose an image. Is anything intruding? Is anything distracting you from what the image is about? If there is, think about how to stop it messing with your beautiful photo.

A tiny change to focal length, pointing the camera up / down even a fraction or just bending your knees a bit might be all it takes to lose those pesky distractions and turn a nice photo into a great photo.

Try different viewpoints, stand in the ditch, out the ditch, try the other side of the road, with more foreground, less foreground. This is part of thinking like a photographer. If you can’t thing like a photographer it’s impossible to be one.

And do it alone because you can’t concentrate when someone’s waiting for you huffing and puffing and wishing you’d hurry up. Make time for YOU alone…

In the video you’ll have seen how I experimented with different positioning and framing. Even when I thought I’d got the shot in the bag I still tried a few more things just in case I missed something… It’s normal; it’s what photographers do.

You don’t need to shoot hundreds of images of the same thing to get a ‘good one in there somewhere’. You just need to think before you leap and think again how else it might work.

Bring home 5 or 6 images you like rather than hundreds of mediocre ones and make it part of your workflow to edit them down to just the very best.

You may have fewer images but they’ll be images you’re proud to have taken…

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3 Landscape Tips

vietnam-txt-streamLandscape photography is one of those areas where patience, thinking it through and taking your time pays dividends.  We have all seen a scene we want to capture but sadly we’re in a hurry, so we leap out the car and just grab a shot without giving it too much thought.

This may or may not result in a great shot. But have you thought to ask yourself if there’s more to be had from a location than the obvious? You have to build upon an initial idea. Explore possibilities.

I was in Vietnam driving through the mountains when we came upon this amazing view of rice terraces. We stopped so the film crew could shoot some aerial shots with their drone so Simon and I took the opportunity to look around and shoot this video.

As we drove up the hill I’d noticed one of the little paths that wind their way through the paddies so we went for a walk to see what it would yield.

Almost straight away we came upon some greenery we could use as foreground, which can frame a scene and give it more depth. In some cases just finding a bit of foreground can make or break an image.

But don’t forget to look around you. It’s all to easy to miss a beautiful detail of the landscape that’s right next to you because you’re absorbed by what’s in front.

You have to concentrate and really look at a scene. In the first shot of the last scenario there’s a stick poking up on the left. I didn’t really notice it to begin with. It wasn’t until I checked the shot in the LCD it became apparent.

So how do we remove it? Well obviously there’s Photoshop but I’m lazy. A few steps to the side will change the geometry of the image. It makes things align differently so you can lose unwanted clutter from the composition.

So besides making sure the light is appropriate for the scene, here are 3 landscape photography tips to consider.

  1. Take time – think of other possibilities for the location
  2. Find some foreground. It could make a world of difference
  3. Look to the side as well as in front. You might have missed something

These things are not functions of your camera. They are functions of you thinking like a photographer.


3 Landscape Tips

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