Weekly Photo Challenge: Line, Patterns & Composition Rules
It doesn’t matter the type camera or lenses, or other equipment you own. Without good composition your image will not work. The difference between a great image (The “Wow” factor.) and a so-so image, is how you compose your shot.
There are rules in photography that work. It’s okay to stretch or bent the rules, but most of the time the rules will guide and help you capture the best image possible.
For great composition you need to put time in to learning how to identify a great shot. Some folks have a natural ability to spot good composition, while others have to work at it. When you finally learn how to make all the rules work for you it is very rewarding.
Why Does The Above Image Work?
It is where I choose to place the railroad tracks in my frame. The tracks (the lines) lead you into the picture starting at the bottom left, carry you through the left side with a slight bend to the right, and blurring away to what is called a “vanishing point.”
Stop for a second a think about this. What would the image look like if I set this shot up with the railroad tracks in about the middle of the frame. I actually bending down taking this shot because I wanted a specific angle. All too often, in my conversations with new photographer’s, I tell them to stop taking pictures standing straight upright. Lay down, get on your knees, use a ladder, etc.
The Lesson: What’s in the frame?
What’s in the frame? Besides your main subject so are the composition rules used to compose your shot. Having a great subject poorly composed is as bad as having a perfectly composed image with a poor subject. A successful image requires both excellent subject matter and composition.
Stop and think where you want your main focal point to be placed in the frame.
Ask: “Where do the line(s) or main subject matter pull or lead a person’s eye in the image?”
Best bet? Take multiple shots using different placements of your main subject.
One of the things I look for, ask myself, when I’m out shooting is: “Ok, what is really different or unusual?” Another way of stating is: “What composition sets itself apart from the ordinary and mundane that many photographers would pass up?”
This shot is of a group of decaying, long grass reeds during the winter laying on the ground next to a frozen pond. The pond is at the top with small parts of frozen snow dotting the frozen water.
This image works because: It has distinctive shapes, remarkable lines and unusual patterns going every-which-way to keep the eye moving throughout the image.
Don’t forget – Try converting your color image(s) to black and white. It is amazing the power of black and white!
Unusual patterns have the potential to add elements of character to a wide variety of subjects. This is a water grate cover image that commands attention with its unique patterns that reflect an “eye-catching” and mysterious image.
The above image was shot using my Nikon D300 with a Lensbaby Composer. Its design naturally provides the in-camera blur that is not produced in post editing.
Two Thoughts: Besides taking multiple shots from different angles…
- Take multiple shots, not only from different angles, but also a variety of wide-angle shots down to very tight frame to reveal specific design and patterns.
- Explore! Be Christopher Columbus with your camera! I always look for out-of-the way places for potential, unusual shots. The above shot was taken in an alley (Below image) that most photographers may have passed by. I found my shot on the right, down and next to the brick wall.
As always, thank you for visiting!
I hope you walk away with some new ideas for composing your shots!