Advice needed for new project
/forum/topic/1166660/0



araz
Registered: Jan 02, 2002
Total Posts: 748
Country: Canada

Hi all,

I've been a long-time member here at FM and I'm starting a new project over at ePhotoSociety.com and could use some of your wisdom and advice.

The goal of my project (blog) is to empower photographers to use compositional elements to tell their stories with photograph. I know that most photographers know and use compositional elements in their photographs but not always in a conscious manner. My hope is to make photographers realize that a viewer's attention is guided through a photograph (story line) by the conscious use of compositional elements judiciously placed by the master photographer.

So far, I have two blog posts but I'm not 100% happy with the outcome... and would appreciate your comments.

Let me know what you think. Any suggestions, comments, ideas or discussions are welcome.

Take care,

Araz



jcolwell
Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 21113
Country: Canada

Hi Araz,

Your analyses of composition and elements of composition are great! OTOH, I think it's counterproductive to be prescriptive about how a photo should look. The visual vectors on your sand dune and flying eagle are good illustrations of visual flow, but I think that the overall effect of an image is often more subjective than objective. IOW, what works, works. Sometimes, there is no visual flow - only 'vision'. That's why I prefer to sell my photos, rather than having them judged in competition - if they give you money, you know that they like it.

Cheers, Jim



borderlight
Registered: Dec 06, 2004
Total Posts: 1746
Country: United States

Compositional rules can be learned, but creativity isn't a rule.



BenV
Registered: Jan 01, 2008
Total Posts: 8158
Country: United States

borderlight wrote:
Compositional rules can be learned, but creativity isn't a rule.


Exactly my thoughts.



redcrown
Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Total Posts: 778
Country: United States

Studying photography and art composition, I learn more and I learn faster when shown a before and after. Or some sort of comparison, with an analysis of why one is better than the other. Your blog only says, "This is good and this is why." I'd suggest showing some weak composition and highlighting the weaknesses. Tell people what to avoid in addition to what to seek.

I remember once viewing an example where the author used a photo of empty row boats anchored in a bay. There were 4 boats equally spaced in a slight curve. Then he simply cloned out one of the end boats, leaving only 3, and followed with a discussion of how human perception prefers an odd number of elements over an even number. As an example, he cited research showing that humans can memorize 3 digit numbers much better than 2 digit numbers.

He followed with a series of flower photos, some with an even number of flowers, some with an odd number, which had been "rated" by test audiences. In every case the odd number photos were rated higher. I agreed, and I've always remembered that lesson.

Another lesson I read once on photo composition focused on attractions and distractions. It taught to look for the distractions and eliminate them. In your eagle photo, the white section on the bottom of the frame is a distraction. If you clone or crop it out, the focus on the eagle is stronger. And if you further desaturate the blue cast in the snow, it becomes even stronger.

And for what it's worth, I find the sand dune photo becomes stronger when the blank sky is cropped off. Just my personal opinion, driven mostly by a deep hatred for blank skies. I agree with you analysis that the blank sky draws the viewer to the top of the frame, but in this case I'm not sure that is a good thing. Leaving the focus on the stark contrast of the main dune seems better to me.



araz
Registered: Jan 02, 2002
Total Posts: 748
Country: Canada

Thank you all for your comments. Even though I haven't replied, I did absorb everything you said and I do appreciate your comments.

Take care,

Araz