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Unravel the Mystery of Epic Composition with Von Wong | BTSV

By Jules Ebe on May 1st 2013

Ever wonder how pro photographers come up with such epic images? It’s all about composition.


I always get excited when Von Wong Photography puts out another Behind the Scenes Video. It’s like chaos and beauty trapped in a 5-minute segment. In his newest BTSV, Von Wong has brought together a group of spirited dancers, a dynamic background, and a solid plan for composition to create a series of energetic images that not only grab your attention, but hold onto it.

“Since the goal was to create shots that were dynamic with a large group of people in challenging positions, the safest way to approach the shoot was to shoot for the purpose of compositing.” ~ Von Wong

Parkour vs. Bboys – Lighting and the Rules of Composition

Composition and Chaos 101

There are several compositional tools at play in Von Wong’s images: The Golden Ratio, leading lines, and triangles, to name a few.

That may just sound like a few shapes, but that is exactly what artists use to grab a viewer’s attention and guide the eye through the frame (instead of just sliding by).

Leading Lines & Triangles

Leading lines do just that – they lead the eye to a point in the image. If you want to create focus and a sense of direction, this is how you do it. As you can see in the photo below, the background building is used to create almost an arrow to the central figure and foreground.

Voilà! – Instant focus and interest.


To ground the image more, and give a sense of stability, the triangle is one of the strongest tools you can use. Don’t ask me why, but it is something ground into our psyche and gives the sense of foundation. Using triangles and leading lines adds a sense of purpose and order to what could seem to be a chaotic scene.


The Golden Ration

Every art student has sat through a lecture on a mathematical principal that is referred to as the Golden Ratio. This principle has been seen in artwork as early as 400 B.C. It has been known by many names: the Golden Mean, The Divine Proportion, and the photographer’s similar version – the rule of thirds.

Basically, it is the proportions continually found in nature that has been broken down to a simple form. Pretty much, it looks like the spiral of a seashell. The idea is of perfection and beauty – in a seemingly random world, still finding order. It is thought of as the balance of nature.



If you would like to see how your images stack up, open Adobe Lightroom and launch the crop tool. Press the letter “O” until it cycles to the Fibonacci spiral (seashell looking thing). You can move it around your image by pressing Shift + “O”. Don’t worry, I did it a gazillion times too.


In the end, play around. It is important to go to a photo shoot prepared and ready for anything – especially having fun. Draw up a few sketches before hand and find the direction you want the viewer’s eyes to go and be free to experiment. If you enjoy an image, it is likely others will too.


If you would like to see more from this shoot, click here.

Gear and Other Fun Stuff

Camera and Lighting Gear:

Sirui Tripod T2205X
Nikon D800E
Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
Elinchrom Rangers RX
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra

Video: Joel Kesler, Deidre Casey

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules


CREDITS : Photographs by Von Wong Photography have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting.

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  2. Antonio Carrasco

    yeah no… all of these compositions are so busy they make my eyes hurt. Negative space is actually a good thing…

    Also, what’s with putting the breakdancers in front of the grafitti walls? Cliche much?

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