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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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36
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3answers
5k views

What is the “Rule of Thirds”?

Please can someone explain the "Rule of Thirds"? What is it? What does it tell me? Why is it important? What can I do with it?
52
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9answers
36k views

What is the 'Golden Ratio' and why is it better than the 'Rule of Thirds?'

Somebody recently told me that I will be able to compose more pleasing pictures if I use the Golden Ratio instead of the Rule of Thirds, and that the Rule of Thirds was an inferior way to compose ...
41
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15answers
2k views

Can anyone suggest books/resources on the artistic side of photography?

I am a relatively new photographer. I have no problem understanding the technical side of photography (I am an engineer by trade), but I do struggle with the more 'artistic' side of photography ...
23
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3answers
2k views

What makes a strong wide-angle composition?

A simple, effective way to improve most compositions is to crop (or zoom) more tightly. Cut out the "distractions", and boom, powerful composition. I usually shoot with a slightly-long lens in the ...
17
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4answers
1k views

When is it OK to place the subject in the middle of a picture?

When is it OK to place the subject in the middle of a picture? I took this picture and feel very compelled to put the subject in the centre rather than on the sides.
29
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the 'Diagonal Method' and should I use it instead of 'The Rule of Thirds?'

I recently was in a discussion with a photography mentor who asserted that over the years he has composed most of his award-winning and/or 'most popular' photographs using the 'Diagonal Method,' and ...
37
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I get photos showing the “shaft of light” effect?

I would like to be able to capture a photo which shows light shafts coming through the window. A famous example is this: I'm guessing this involves a tripod, a long exposure and strong sunlight, ...
13
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0answers
656 views

Good books to learn photographic composition from?

One of the tough things to learn in photographie is composition. What good books (or other sources) can you recommend to learn and hone your compositional skills?
8
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4answers
1k views

How do quirks of the human vision system affect photography?

When looking out at the world through our eyes, it's easy to take for granted that our perceptions are an absolute rendering of How Things Are. But in fact, it's not quite as simple as that. Most of ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Tips for taking headshot self-portraits?

I need to do some headshots of myself for a gig I have coming up. My initial thought was to use a plain light background (as you see in many studio shots), but I've had some advice to use a dark ...
13
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4answers
756 views

Why doesn't auto-focus work with an all-white subject (like a wall)?

I am trying to compose a shot using my Nikon D60 and 18-55mm lens towards a white wall in a auto-focus mode. It looks like I am not able to take the photo. I feel the camera is not able to find any ...
12
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6answers
4k views

What is the best approch to photographing a mirror or other highly reflective surface?

I have been asked by a client to take some product photographs of some vintage mirrors that they would like to sell and I am struggling with getting good clear shots of the mirrors. As such, what is ...
6
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2answers
1k views

What is a point of interest in a photograph and where is it lacking in this candle picture?

I've been told that this picture has no point of interest. Does this mean that there are too many elements in focus here? I would like to understand the meaning and the reasons behind it and how to ...
4
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
69
votes
20answers
12k views

Why do breathtaking views turn into “boring” photos, and how can I do better?

I recently purchased a Canon 700D with a 18-135 IS lens to get into photography. I'm trying to improve, but my photos seem 'boring'. Let me give some examples: I took these today. The scenery ...
17
votes
3answers
456 views

What things should one take into account when looking at cropping a photo?

When looking at cropping a photo: How do you decide whether to crop it or not (for starters)? What things should you take into account - both practical and artistic? I guess that this question is ...
32
votes
6answers
3k views

Why take diagonal photos?

In the "old days" I sometimes composed my photos diagonally, but I've not had success doing that in the "modern" era, because there's not really any nice way to present it digitally. Is there a ...
10
votes
4answers
907 views

When should I break the rule of thirds?

When photographers talk about the rule of thirds, they say sometimes they will break the rule and still the photo will have great composition. When should I stick with the rule of thirds and when ...
16
votes
4answers
875 views

How does histogram shape affect the aesthetics of a picture?

For having more contrast in an image, it's good to have a wide range (i.e. difference between highest and lowest) of light intensities in a picture; and for keeping details, neither highlights nor ...
5
votes
1answer
635 views

What style of composition for food photography triggers people's appetite?

What kind of style and position triggers more the appetite of people? What are the best ways to position food and combine with other objects? What kind of objects are better combined with food? Does ...
2
votes
3answers
391 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. ...
2
votes
4answers
386 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?
41
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the Rule of Odds?

In furthering my reading on photographic composition I came across a compositional technique called the "Rule of Odds." What is the "Rule of Odds"? Why is it important? How do I apply it to my ...
12
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5answers
660 views

Where could I find a detailed reference on all composition rules?

I am looking for a good advanced reference about photographic/cinematographic composition rules. I have already checked this post: Good books to learn photographic composition from? but it doesn't ...
8
votes
2answers
634 views

What and how to crop?

When I take a photo of something like a building, I tend to shoot the whole building, because later I want to get the feeling and impression I had when I took this photo. I want to transfer these ...
26
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2answers
1k views

What is Bakker's Saddle?

I was perusing a book called "Success in Print Competition for Professional Photographers" and one section referred to a composition technique called Bakker's Saddle. Three related questions: What ...
25
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5answers
1k views

How to create an eye-path?

Reading about photography, I have now and then stumbled on recommendations to "create a path for viewer's eye", or to "lead it through the picture" without any specific guidelines how to achieve that. ...
20
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5answers
888 views

How to capture the scale of a scene?

My framing in the following photo completely failed to capture the sheer height of the waterfall. If you don't know I was standing at the top of the waterfall, and the "splinters" at the bottom are ...
11
votes
2answers
821 views

What is a negative space in a photograph?

From here: http://1x.com/forum/photo-critique/31871 you have far too much negative space so the eye goes toward the back...of the picture, and there is not much to see there...either. What ...
5
votes
8answers
639 views

How to *make* a nature photograph?

I found this scene to be quite beautiful for sure, but when I look at it from the photographer's view point, I find that that person just went there, saw the scene, clicked the photo and returned ...
9
votes
4answers
634 views

What is the meaning of these Photodune reasons for rejection?

I wanted some advice, I am new to photography, I posted an image on Photodune for sale and it was rejected because of: Element or framing composition Noise, exposure, lighting or saturation ...
7
votes
4answers
736 views

Which is better - autofocus and recompose vs. manual focus?

In some occasions autofocus doesn't focus what I intend it to. What is the better option - to use autofocus, focus what I want and recompose, or use manual focus in that situation?
11
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6answers
5k views

What are the advantages of shooting a particular aspect ratio?

My camera can shoot in 4 different aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1). Aside from personal preference of composition are there any advantages to choosing one over the other? Is there an industry ...
9
votes
6answers
318 views

Aside from sharpness & speed, what are the benefits to photo composition\optical quality provided by premium lenses over their cheaper counterpart?

I have gone through quite a few lens reviews and questions on this site that recommend expensive lenses over their cheaper counterparts. From what I've seen in the reviews, there is a marked ...
8
votes
3answers
535 views

Still-life reconstruction considered plagiarism?

I am really bad at still lifes. That is, I never even attempted making one. So I decided to try and make a photo of freshly baked bread. I stumbled across a few amazing shots on the Internet which I ...
8
votes
1answer
658 views

What is diagonal dominance?

In another question, rule of Diagonal Dominance was mentioned. I had never heard of such rule, so I'd like to know... What is rule of diagonal dominance about? How to apply it in photography? When ...
7
votes
2answers
467 views

Are there guidelines for using “Dutch angles”?

Some authors such as this and this suggest tilting the camera so that the horizon is not level, presumably adding interest to a photograph. Are there any guidelines for a beginner like me on when to ...
7
votes
2answers
507 views

How can I make my beach shots more interesting?

I like to visit beaches on my vacation, so I always come back with shots of the shore and sand. They always turn out quite boring, and I'm not sure what they are missing generally speaking to really ...
6
votes
5answers
436 views

Does a centered object get attention?

When I showed this photo to my friend he mentioned that the flower in the center of the photo got his attention. Although I placed it in the center of the photo, I believe that it's not the only main ...
4
votes
4answers
399 views

How do I compose photos with prime lenses?

I own a Sony NEX-5R, with two prime lenses: 19mm F2.8 Sigma, and 35mm F1.8 Sony. How do I best compose photos with prime lenses like these? I can think of a few: Walk towards or away from the ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it better to have light come from the left side?

In this comment to a question about composing landscape photographs, Esa Paulasto says About the direction of light, whenever you have a choice in it, have the light come from left side. I have ...
8
votes
3answers
344 views

How to photograph flat plastic in an “interesting” way to show off its properties?

At work we are currently in the process of photographing samples of materials. The idea is to photograph them to show their structure/properties more than their shape (i.e. if we have a steel cog, we ...
5
votes
3answers
379 views

Taking sports and action shots with regular lenses

I do not shoot action or sports photos. I was asked to shoot a friend's soccer game. I am not looking for perfect magazine quality images; however, I'd like to maximize the quality of my shots with ...
5
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3answers
1k views

When taking a picture, where should the horizon be?

I know and understand the rule of thirds, but I would like to know, when taking a picture of something such as a tree, should the horizon be positioned on the top or bottom third line?
1
vote
2answers
383 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 ...
1
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2answers
253 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 ...