Composition - How to compose an image

January 17, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Frosty morningTaken between Orcheston and Tilshead, on a cold, frosty, foggy morning.....The fog lifted for a few moments,

This year, I have chosen to share my photographic journey, explaining how I go about creating images, sharing some of my knowledge, (but by no means am I an expert), but I do feel that sharing at any level is vital to everyones learning in whatever hobby/profession they're in.......

 

For my first post I am starting with composition, and how to create an athsetically pleasing image......

 

Anyone can take a photo, that's my belief, as we all see things that pleases our eye, and wish that we could take a picture of it so that we can look at it later on, and in times to come. The secret to capturing a good photo (yes, we can all do it) is to look at the scene that has captured our eye, absorb it, frame it and then capture it on the camera. Thats the bare crux of it.....there is a little more to it, so read on to find out more....

So, we have seen a view, one that has caught our eye, and we think that it would look good to capture.......

The first thing to do, is to take a good look at what you are seeing, frame it in your minds eye, move around if you have to, figure out how the light is falling, what the shadows are doing, how does the scene speak to you. Use the rule of thirds to help set the scene and flow of the image, and fill the frame.... Once you have satisfied how you see it and want to capture it, use the camera to record it.....

That bit sounds easy enough, however, the second part to capturing a good image is to know your camera inside out, and how to use it properly. This doesn't just apply to DSLR cameras, but to all cameras right down to the phone camera. Vast majority of images in the world are now taken on the phone, and may people just point and shoot hoping to capture that scene that looks amazing in front of them.....

 

The Rule of thirds......

The rule of thirds refers to the placement of key elements of the image on or near imaginary lines that divide the image frame into equal thirds, both horizontally and vertically. By placing important elements of the scene around these lines, and in particular where they intersect, rather than in the middle of the frame, allows it to add an instant visual interest and balance to the image you want to create.

The image shown here, of a cold frosty morning, is a good example of the rule of thirds. The horizon sits in the middle, with the road drawing the viewer through the image. The sky covers the top half of the image, with the moon in the top left corner. As you follow the road through, the barn can be seen to the right third of the image with the trees on the left third of the image. The horizon here is the fog against the sky, which is straight, as the hills are undulating across the image. The aim is to make the horizon straight, which is the furthest point of the image, that meets, ie sky and land/sea, allowing the rest of the image to flow in its natural way. The horizon can be corrected in post production, but you are able to buy a bubble spirit level that fits into the hotshoe that will aid the setting of the horizon when on the tripod, or, if you have a DSLR camera, it has its own digital level to help.

One of the challenges when taking an image, is to choose what will be the main subject in the image. Seeing a beautiful sunlit image is one thing, recreating it so that it makes people stop and look to admire it is another. This image has sunlight casting across the fields... if it were just the fields, then the image might not have the same impact, but because the barn and the trees are there, with the sunlight hitting just as the fog lifted for a minute, highlights the landscape more prominently. The car just passing the barn also indicates that it is not quite light enough to see properly.

Framing and setting the camera up.......

This image was taken on New years eve '20. It was -4c, and there was plenty of fog around. It was approx 07:50 in the morning. I had taken quite a few images, and had to walk around the fields, looking for a good view point. The moon was out which immediately caught my attention. I had an idea as to what was in the fields as I knew the area well, but wasn't sure how i could put it together. The best way for this I found was to set the camera up on the tripod, (which I would have to do as I was using a slow shutter speed), and then to use live view to help frame what I was seeing. The screen also has a grid for the rule of thirds to be applied. This made it considersbly easier to find the look I wanted of the landscape that I was seeing. The only problem was the amount of fog around. It was a lot of playing around with shutter speed and aperture, I left the ISO on 50, as i was using a triopd. I then proceeded to take the images, saving them as RAW files, so I could post process them at home, and get the image I was looking for. I was very fortunate that the sun was allowed through, lifting the fog for a few moments, allowing me to capture this shot.The fog very quickly fell once more, obscuring this view again.

This image was taken with a Nikon D500, 50mm, f/13, 1/10 sec, ISO 50.

 

Conclusion........

Taking photograghs has its ups and downs, a proficient photographer will take their time, eyes searching the view in front of them, before finding something to take, and then spend time setting up the equipment. The secret to their success is patience, understanding of the scene and their camera equipment. The important thing to remember is how to use your camera, as this is what you are using to record your image. If you get that right you are 75% their for getting a good image, the other 25% is down to what you see and how you want to capture it.

I have been out on photoshoots many times, taken vast amounts of shots, got home, and been very dissappointed with them....It happens to every photographer, it's a learning curve for us all, even to the most experienced of photographers. What drives me though to continue, is the passion and enjoyment I have for photography and the release it gives me in times of struggle, that I get mentally.

What I have wriiten does not just apply to landscape photography, it applies to all genre of photograhy, as the desired results are all the same, an asthetically pleasing image for all to look at.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions about any of what I have written.

 

 


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