Understanding Composition & Why Not Doing So Is Undermining Your Work
Composition, as a term, stems from the latin for ‘put together.’ It can refer to the action, or strictly as a noun, and it doesn’t solely apply to photography or an associated visual art. It extends into any sort of design, writing, music, dance, arrangement of your living room furniture, etcetera, and is essential to understand, even subconsciously, to execute good imagery. Incidentally, if you think you’ve got it covered because you understand the rule of thirds, you’re farther behind than you can imagine.
You may have heard it said, and I’d be lying if I said I knew the origins of who said it, but that in photography, ‘composition is everything.’ That’s a bit bold to hear, and perhaps even bolder to say, but when there’s a deep understanding of the term, it also sort of makes sense. You may have the most fantastic subject, the best camera and lenses, the best setting and environment, and impeccable light, but if you’ve got no understanding of composition the sum won’t even amount to the value of each part. It would be like speaking with consonants alone – you need a vowel in the mix for it to make sense.
Andrew Price of Blender Guru has put together a really wonderful video that delves into some of the meat of composition. While it may have been created from the perspective of a graphic designer, the theory applies almost directly for us as photographers and he covers, among other points:
- The 3 stages of a well composed image
- The most common mistake artists make
- Simple rules to abide by to create more engaging work.
The video is 30 minutes long, and 30 minutes well invested. It will, for many of you, begin to illuminate aspects of imagery you may never have known or thought about consciously, and once understood will change how you view photos. As a further consequence, it is this kind of knowledge that will help you understand why some photos are more critically acclaimed than others, and hopefully create more appreciation for really quality work.
Source: YouTube, Images are screen captures from featured video