Recently an extended family member came and talked with me. She told me about how she had shown my website to a girl that was engaged. Then she proceeded to tell me that the girl said there was just “Too much stuff in the picture”. (I never found out what picture she was talking about…I don’t even know if it was one picture or all of my pictures, but anywho…) My relative took me to pinterest and showed me some pictures that were composed better than whatever picture she was talking about.
The pictures were beautiful! She asked me if I knew what composition was and I told her I did. Then she encouraged me to take a class, or watch a video on composition because there was too much stuff in my pictures and it was something I could work on. She then left and I was like “Whoa, what just happened?” All I came away with was there was some picture (or pictures) on my website that needed to be better composed. And this person thought it would be good if I learned some better composition. I kept thinking about what she said and I thought about the pictures I have taken. Whenever someone critiques my work, I’m always tempted to be prideful and say “Hey! You’re not a photographer, you don’t know the situation. I don’t think you could get half as good a picture if you were in my shoes.” But, of course, that would be awful! That would be ME talking not the voice of wisdom. Wisdom would say “Yeah, she’s right. I could definitely use some help on composition.”
I’m still tempted to disregard the advice she gave me but I’m trying not to. I like most of my work (definitely not all of it) but I also know I have a ways to go. Every picture isn’t exposed correctly, composed perfectly and edited amazingly. They’re just not. They are what they are. I strive to do my best and quite often I fail and wish they were better. But, you know what? When I fail it makes me want to do better. And that’s a good thing!
So, following this relative’s advice, I went to Kelby Training and have watched 75% of a class on composition. I hope my relative is proud. :)
Anyways, one of the assignments the guy gave was to go out and work on your compositon (shock, I know!). We were to work on three compositional techniques:
– Take a picture with a sense of mystery.
– Take a picture using the rule of odds.
– Take a picture with the horizon line not in dead center. (As he said, “dead center is deadly”.)
I went around this morning and tried to find something to photograph that would give me the above results. The picture with a sense of mystery was fairly easy…I used an expressive sibling! :)
Now when I see the above picture I’m either tempted to laugh or to wonder what he’s looking at (there’s the mystery part of the photograph). :)
The second challenge (take a picture using the rule of odds) was much harder. I walked around for a little bit and finally found some odd-numbered subjects:
The rule of odds is the composition tip that means use odd-numbered subjects in a picture. :) That’s it! As you see in the above picture I have three main subjects: the horse (you know I had to use one!), and the 2 individual peacock feathers.
I took a picture of the same subjects that broke the “rule of odds” and this is the result:
If you look at the two pictures, which one draws your eye more? Definitely the first! I had no idea that odd-numbered subjects make that big of a difference. I will definitely try and use this composition tip a lot more!
The third tip, I must admit, I didn’t go out and do. It’s a fairly simplistic composition tip that I’ve heard before and try to follow. The only time I put the horizon line in the dead center of a landscape picture is if I like the sky and whatever’s below the sky equally well.
Well, that’s all for this week!
P.S. – I had to add a few pictures of my adorable cousin, Cameron. I got to babysit him last Fri. and he is a cutie, to say the least!
Oh – and here’s one more picture of my little brother, Josiah, from today’s mini photo session: