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An introduction to composition

ferhan khan

on 21 October 2014

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Transcript of Composition

Image Taker or Image Maker ?
Light Writers !
Photos graphos
Composition in the visual arts is the placement or
of the
visual art elements
in an art work.

Good composition is the
placement of these art ingredients in a visually pleasing or compelling manner.

to help you arrange
the design ingredients.
Master before


Anything wrong with this image?
If so what and how can it be improved?
Has this composition changed the
meaning of the image?
Avoid distracting background elements
that do not support the meaning or aid the
Explore and discover a suitable
vantage point
too much can obscure the narrative.
With a partner discuss the compositional characteristics of this photograph.
Kids and Baseball Cards, New York, 1954 - William Klein
Now compare & contrast the photograph with this image.
Pigeons in Moscow, Moscow Russia, 1988 - John Mansfield
"A good photographer is like a quality chef." - Mr Khan
“ You don’t take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams
“ Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph." – Matt Hardy
“When composing a picture… “Be aware of every square millimeter of your frame.” – Jay Meisel
“There are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer.”

Ansel Adams

The rule of thirds is all about subject placement within the frame.

is placed one third of the way “into” the picture space – from either the top or bottom, and from either the left or right, not in the middle.
Defines a spiral pattern that shows up repeatedly in Nature.
Golden Triangles
Golden Ratio (Divine Ratio)
Viewpoint &
Vantage point
Our vantage point often determines our message.

Most beginners hold their cameras at eye level, and confront their subjects head on. This vantage point usually produces static pictures.

By moving the camera in, out, up, down, around, and even behind the subject, we can make images that say a lot more.
Find that SHOT!
I have taken a range of photographs at various locations throughout the school building.

Your task is to find each location and take an
photograph using your groups camera.

See this as a photographic treasure hunt. The group that finds and photographs the most locations using the
composition in the time allocated will win a prize.

Keep your eyes peeled, look closely at the example images and work together effectively.

Task Objective
The objective of this task is to prompt you to engage "Creative Seeing" by looking at everyday things differently, finding interesting vantage points and consider ways of framing your subject.

Lets review our learning
Visual Weight
Natural Framing
Attention directed to the focal point
Creates depth
1,2,3 or 4 sides can be framed
Subtle or obvious (focus)
Whenever visual elements begin to flow in a repeatable pattern, they become something more—they turn into rhythm.
These repeated photographic elements create a type of unity and structure to a photograph.
By finding a pattern in lines, shapes or colors you can easily add rhythm to your photographs that the human eye will have an easy time following.
Visual weight is a concept that describes how much something in an image “pulls” or "draws" the viewers eye to look at it.
This small dot carries a lot of Visual Weight
"Here is an example of a balanced composition."
With your partner justify the above statement.
Although the horses are small, their dark tone and placement close to the corner means they "weigh" as much as all of the lighter areas of the image combined. The trees and grass are divided equally across the horizon which also adds to the balance. Initially drawn to the horses, the eye is then allowed to move up into the scene.
Contrast is the difference in luminance and/or colour that makes an object distinguishable.
What gives this image balance?
Very light or dark objects (light or dark in relation to their surroundings) can carry a lot of visual weight and draw our eyes to them. If you want to focus attention to a light colored subject, place it against a dark background. Conversely, place a dark subject against a light background to make it contrast.
The cans carry the most weight due to their nonconformity i.e. difference or exception. The cans are the dominant element in this image and initially attract the most attention.
Discuss why the flowers carry so much visual weight?
Green and yellow are analogous colours (next to each other on the colour wheel) so they harmonize.
The complementary colour of green (opposite on the colour wheel) is violet. When placed next together Complementary colours appears more vibrant and intense.
Which element in the image below carries the most visual weight?
Visual Coherence
Photographer: "I visit every year, the mountain range and valley really draws me here, its a truly an amazing part of the world."
Discuss which photograph you feel most effectively communicates the above quote.
Where an object is in relation to the boundary, or frame of the image, impacts its visual weight. Objects that are close to the edge of the frame carry more visual weight.
Due to the scale of the portrait and empty
background (negative space) it holds a
lot of visual weight .

Areas of the face have been cropped to
create a more intimate focused image
and the off centre position creates more
Rule of thirds
Broken Rhythm
Direct eye contact
Depth of field
Discuss with your partner the compositional tools used by the photographer when capturing this image.
Depth Of Field
Focal Point is Sharp (in focus)
Background & foreground
in soft focus (blurred)
Out of focus area creates a natural frame
Lesson Objective
To learn how to take photographs with a visually pleasing composition.
1) Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of different compositional rules/tools and how they can be applied to create a successful photograph.

2) Identify ways in which to improve a photograph through the application of the composition rules & tools.
Lesson Outcome
By the end of the lesson(s) you will be able to:
Q.1) What is the best definition for composition in relation to photography?

A. a work of art
B. the successful arrangement of parts within the frame
C. the combining of elements to create a unified piece of artwork
Q.2) Which of the following apply to the rule of thirds?

A. Place objects directly in the centre
B. Place objects where the grid lines intersect
C. Place horizon lines on the grid lines
D. Make sure there is something interesting in every frame
E. Zoom in on your subject
Q.3)The Rule of thirds should NEVER be broken.

A. True
B. False
Q.18) An image is said to have what when strong lines direct the
viewer's eye?

A. Converging lines
B. Leading lines
C. Directing vision
D. Graphic vision
Q.6) What is a large area of correctly positioned empty space in an image called?

A. Negative space
B. Positive space
C. Dead space
D. Open space
Q.4) Which of the following compositional elements often allows you
to break the rule of thirds?

A. Contrasting colours
B. Symmetry
C. Graphic proportions
D. Angularity
Q.13) Which is the best composition for this profile portrait shot?
Q.16) Which tool can be used to create an interesting composition?

A. Look for naturally occurring frames
B. Shoot from behind your subject
C. Look for interesting subjects
D. Shoot from above or below your subject
Q.10)The compositional tool of repetition of form is best demonstrated by which of the following scenarios?

A. railroad track
B. dune in a desert
C. row of trees
D. piece of ribbon
Q.9) Which of the following techniques can be used to emphasize a subject on a busy background?

A. Bokeh Extension
B. Slow panning
C. Deep vignetting
D. Selective focus using Depth Of Field
Q.17) Switching what piece of gear can most drastically affect your composition?

A. Your flash
B. Your camera body
C. Your lens
D. Your memory card
All three images:
Include a human subject matter
Include a natural landscap
Include a companion/secondary subject
(Tree - Cat - House)
Exude a mood of isolation / loneliness
Have a large amount of Space

Negative or Positive Space?
What's the difference?
Space is defined by shapes and forms.
Positive space is where shapes and forms exist.
Negative space is the empty space around shapes and forms (background) that supports the subject matter.
Dead space is empty space that does not support the subject (wasted or distracting areas).
1) Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of different compositional rules/tools and how they can be applied to create a successful photograph.

2) Identify ways in which to improve a photograph through the application of the composition rules & tools.
Lesson Outcome
By the end of the lesson(s) you will be able to:
Q.5) What is the main difference between photographs and snapshots?

A. Photographs use the rule of thirds, and snapshots do not.
B. Snapshots are merely recordings whilst photographs are planned interpretations of objects, places or events.
C. Snapshots do not include the entire subject within the frame, and photographs do.
Q.7) How can you eliminate dead space?

A. Add interesting objects to the photo
B. Change your vantage point
C. Edit it on the computer
Q.8) Why is it important to watch the edges of your frame
when taking a photograph?

A. To avoid tilting the camera
B. To make sure objects are included completely
C. Things in the far edges of the frame can draw the
viewers attention
Q.11) What is the positive space of this photograph?

A. The background
B. The foreground shadows
C. The highlights on cactus
D. The mid-tones on the cactus
Q.12) Cropping is :-

A. Using a shorter lens.
B. Reducing the boundaries of the picture.
C. Attacking your camera bag with a scythe.
D. Reducing the amount of equipment you carry.
Q.14) How could this composition be improved?
Q.15) Does this photograph composition have any distractions? How could you improve this composition?
Q.19) Who took this photograph?
Q.20) List the different compositional Rules And Tools used in this image
William Klein, Kids with baseball cards.
Rule of thirds (horizon)
Reflection / mirroring
Negative space
Composition Quiz

Working in pairs - 20 questions
ONLY using the compositional rule of thirds, take 6-10 photographs of objects around the room.
5 mins.
Around the room there are a number of
photographs taken by various photojournalists
in 2011/2012 for the Guardian News Paper and National Geographic.

Using the post-it notes write at least one composition based statement per image. Stick your statement on the image and you may write/stick as many statements in the 5mins allowed.
Full transcript