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Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. It can also be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art.

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Is cropping out someone's ear a no-no in a portrait?

I know limbs have their compositional rules. I'm working on a self-portrait where I'm contemplatively looking left. To emphasize the effect, I want to crop my right ear off (hey, no Van Gough jokes!). ...
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1answer
885 views

How do triangles work as a tool for composition?

I've heard that triangles can be used as a tool in composition. Why would I pay attention to triangles, or structure an image around this shape? What particular significance do triangles have, ...
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2answers
634 views

Why are the Curiosity pictures shown tilted?

This one is the last photo that the Mars rover took this week: Why is the picture shown tilted? Why doesn't NASA rotate it and show it in the correct angle?
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7answers
487 views

How to show happiness in a playground without any human presence?

I don't have any humans to pose. I have a playground with a swing which rotates to and fro. I also have children's toys and clothes and shoes. I wish to create a scene which shows that a child "was" ...
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5answers
142 views

How to improve the composition of the scene depicting time's effect on age?

This is what I have tried: Have used a vintage watch to depict old times, extremely dry leaves, and somewhat fresh flowers. Intention was to show increasing age with time. I have kept watch out ...
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3answers
676 views

Why would one recompose after setting exposure?

I am reading Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure. Quoting text from the book: I set up my camera and 75-300mm lens on a tripod. I set my focal length to 130mm and aperture to f/32 and ...
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6answers
1k views

Rule of thirds — is there any scientific proof behind it?

I learned about rule of thirds only recently, and it excited me a lot, and it seems to apply to a lot of situations. But my question is why does it make pictures look more appealing? Does it have ...
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6answers
1k views

When do you center your subject in environmental portraits?

When I shoot environmental portraits, I usually place my subject off center. However, I've seen instances where the photographer has intentionally centered their subject. Here is an example: http://...
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3answers
196 views

Compositing portrait adult/child

I got asked to take pictures at my nephews birthday party (7 years old), more specifically portrait pictures of him and each family member. So this would be him and one adult (or one of his child ...
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4answers
3k views

When would one choose a 50mm f/1.4 over 85mm f/1.8 (or vice versa) for portraits?

Say you are using a crop body, and you have both 50mm/1.4 USM and 85mm/1.8 USM lens in your bag. Now, you want to take a portrait where there is adequate light and space, and you have decided to take ...
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3answers
468 views

How do I create a sense of power and splendor in an image?

I'm trying to take that convey strong emotional feelings, and I would like to know whether there is any particular color scheme or type of picture that would convey a feeling of power and/or splendor.
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3answers
4k views

What is the “visual center” of an image?

I've heard that one of the tricks designers use for a more effective result is placing an object in the visual center. Where is the visual center in an image, why is it important, and how could it be ...
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2answers
452 views

What would be examples of Principle of Alternation, other than chiaroscuro?

I watched this video of Online Art Academy about Design Principle of Alternation, where alternating light and dark is used to add rhythm, interest and vitality into composition. An obvious example of ...
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3answers
745 views

What is a good composition style for photographs like these?

In my photography classes and online resources, I have learned about photographing the subject with a space to breathe in the photograph. But there are several photos in which the head is facing bit ...
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3answers
140 views

How to improve wide-angle composition in travel photography to make it more dynamic?

I love taking wide-angle photos of people with my ultra-wide angle zoom lens on my travels (11-16mm Tokina) as I get to closely interact with my subjects. I try to shoot photos where there is some ...
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3answers
589 views

How to break mental models when taking pictures?

I've started to learn photography and I start to appreciate what makes a good picture. One of the problems that I've noticed is how to look to the world. For me, taking a picture is a kind of tunnel ...
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3answers
533 views

Breaking composition rules [closed]

There are many articles in the internet about composition rules. And almost all of them says many masters sometimes break composition rules to make more appealing photographs. But the problem I face ...
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1answer
653 views

How do you photograph sand dunes?

In 2010 I was lucky enough to visit Death Valley. While we were there we went to the sand dunes. I took this shot Its not how I remembered the scene, It seems as if a lot of the detail has been ...
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2answers
1k views

How can I improve the composition of my food photos?

I am extremely new to food photography and blogging. I am trying to get on foodgawker.com to drive more traffic to my site, but they rejected this photo due to the composition being too tight. If ...
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2answers
3k views

Why does the viewfinder of the Nikon D90 have a 4×4 grid instead of 3×3?

I was amazed that viewfinder of my camera has a 4 x 4 grid. Why is this? There's no 3 x 3 grid. Sad. What is the reason to did it so? Is it possible to fix it (upgrade software of camera)? What ...
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5answers
277 views

How to compose a scene when including the actual context isn't simply practical?

In the below photograph of mine the father and the child were watching the wall lizard in the room. It wasn't practical for me to include the lizard since it was far away on the roof. Moreover the ...
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2answers
349 views

Composing great profile/cover images for social media

Are there any design/artistic 'rules' which could be effectively applied to help make social media profile images (like Facebook profile images/covers) more engaging and integrate well with the target ...
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1answer
129 views

How to achieve simplification in composition?

Simplification is a great tool for creating photographs with artistic quality – it stays away from unnecessary/obvious things and helps the image not to be “busy”. I was searching various blogs and ...
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3answers
140 views

How to compose outdoor group shoots to balance the subjects and the background?

I have been shooting landscapes mostly with my budget DSLR Canon EOS 1100D. I am tasked with taking photos on outdoor occasions now. I have no clue on how to shoot an individual/group in outdoors. Be ...
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1answer
95 views

General rules when compression in the background looks good (like with longer focal lengths)?

Is there any general set of rules or guidelines on when would the background compression generated by a long focal length look good in a picture? Example : in a headshot, I really like the background ...
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3answers
3k views

How do I use a 6x4 grid in the viewfinder?

The new Canon 5D Mark III allow you to activate a 6x4 grid in the viewfinder. Does anyone know the use of such a grid (instead of a more classic 3x3) for composition, besides obvious horizontal/...
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1answer
119 views

Composition for Ken Burns Effect

I have an assignment to shoot architectural, wildlife, and landscape stills for a video production team who wants to present them using some variation of the Ken Burns effect. I am concerned that ...
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4answers
435 views

How to show the theme “What happened??”

I wanted to show the theme "What happened??" here. I showed this to some non-photographers, they couldn't make out anything out of this. What can I do here to improve the composition?
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4answers
414 views

How to compose a scene which doesn't have any apparent story?

On 1x people often say that to complete a story you need to have a third element. Fine, but what can you do when you don't have a human around to pose for you? How to compose the following scene so ...
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3answers
229 views

Subject out of center — what is correct term?

Composition which consists of placing the topic or main subject to the side and never in center of the picture: does that technique have a name?
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3answers
239 views

Why are mystery and ambiguity valued in art photography when they're not positive in normal life?

This question is based on following observations and quotes In engineering, and in most part of human life, ambiguity and mystery is not a good thing. In art photography, mystery is very important ...
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2answers
3k views

How should I position my lighting for photographing books?

This is my setup for photographing books: .. but I have issues with glossy books and magazines. I need help understanding the best place to position the lights so it covers the entire cradle (120 ...
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2answers
194 views

How to apply the Rule of Thirds with people?

If the subject of the photo is a mother beside her child who just graduated in a graduation ceremony, how would I be able to apply the rule of thirds?
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3answers
391 views

Is there any software or phone camera app that can give advice about composition?

Is there any software/ phone camera app that can give advice about composition while shooting an image? Or would it be possible develop an app for that? For example, maybe giving advice about the ...
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2answers
109 views

What are different composition techniques for landscape photography?

I like to shoot landscapes. Generally rule of third's is preferred while shooting. What are some other composition techniques that will improve photographing landscapes???
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3answers
135 views

How to make use of the light wind blowing in the garden which doesn't allow the flowers to remain still?

I have the 60mm macro lens which I am unable to use, ever, because of the light wind blowing in the garden which doesn't allow the flowers to remain still. I am thinking is there a way by which I can ...
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1answer
94 views

How can I control figure-to-ground composition when I can't stage the whole scene?

Figure-to-Ground is something caught my attention recently in a video "Bridging the Gap: Classical Art Designed for Photographers". This technique makes photos really readbale – and clearly tells what ...
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1answer
66 views

How to decide the colour combinations while setting up still life objects?

Let's assume I have bottles of different colours. I want to make a still life photograph with them. How should I decide which colours go well with others? Example - should blue bottle be placed next ...
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1answer
143 views

Is there a way to display golden ratio and the rule of thirds on a Canon DSLR?

There is not much talk about the Golden Ratio in the web, and all of them are almost the same. I have a Canon 1200D, and I was mostly interested to learn more about this, and specifically, to be able ...
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2answers
87 views

How can I use control over the aperture to take better photos?

I upgraded from a point-and-shoot to a Sony NEX a few months back. I think I've made substantial progress with regards to many aspects of photography like composition, the rule of thirds, ISO, ...
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0answers
178 views

Learning path for better lighting and composition [closed]

I have been a hobbyist photographer with my 5 year old Nikon D40 (18-55mm) until now. I do get occasional good shots, but most of them are not satisfying in terms of good lighting and composition. I ...
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2answers
270 views

Advice on composition and editing of the following picture [closed]

I'm new to photography (as in I just borrowed my first DSLR 2 days ago), I'm in the "read something new and go apply it in the field" phase. Yesterday walking home from work, I saw an interesting ...
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6answers
239 views

Is there a Clippy for Photography?

I have a Nikon D90 with a 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G lens. What I am looking for is a website that can help me learn about how to best use my camera, something like "Hello, I see you are ...
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3answers
349 views

How can I make successful abstract photographs?

I am trying to impress some of my friends, and also my teacher (who is a professional photographer). He asked us to take three frames to represent abstract photography. I have taken some shots and I ...
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2answers
276 views

How to photograph a paper-boat in the river?

I have this idea of taking photo of a handmade boat and show it as it is waving in a river!... Here is a normal photo of the boat itself: My camera is a semi-professional Canon! Ideas about the ...
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1answer
128 views

Can Still Life photography have framing?

Can a still life image have framing in it or is framing usually found in landscape photography?
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1answer
342 views

What is a 50mm focal length good for on an APS-C camera?

This is on a Sony NEX, so the 35-mm equivalent focal length is 75mm. What kind of photography is this focal length good for? I shoot low-light, landscapes / cityscapes, and the typical vacation ...
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2answers
355 views

How do I compose an image for use as a browser background or wallpaper on a widescreen monitor?

I want to use some of my images for the background of a web page in my browser and for computer desktop wallpaper on my widescreen notebook. When I use a (landscape oriented) picture as is (in a ...
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1answer
667 views

What are some other terms for a 3/4 shot?

I know it as the American shot or American wide, but what are some other names?
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2answers
561 views

How to shoot water spilled on the floor?

I am planning a scene with water spilled on a floor or desk. The floor and desks have designs which will be distracting for my shot. I am thinking of placing a paper sheet as a back drop. Which ...