Go to a  "printer friendly" view of this message which allow an easy print Printer-friendly copy Go to the page which allows you to send this topic link and a message to a friend Email this topic to a friend
Forums Lobby MULTILINGUAL NIKONIANS English Café (Public) topic #86990
View in linear mode

Subject: "Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition" Previous topic | Next topic
ZoneV Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2005Mon 11-Feb-13 08:28 PM
3491 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
"Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
Tue 12-Feb-13 03:21 AM by ZoneV

US
          

For the first 15 years of practicing photography, I got good at getting close and using the rule of thirds. By 2007, it was second nature.

In 2008, I realized that my compositions looked too regimented at times. I wasn't sure exactly what the solution was though.

More recently, I noticed that a lot of my photos lacked depth and were cropped too tightly. Some of them looked as though they could have been taken on a set in a studio and composited (tightly cropped human subject, defocused background). I stuck this in the back of my mind and decided to start using wide-angle lenses more.

Around the same time, I went on an interview for a part-time PJ gig for a small-town paper. The editor was not a photographer, and responded best to the tightly cropped images shot with a wide-angle lens from up close.

But I knew that I also wanted to learn to take wider shots as well. You know, the type of PJ images that tell a story and show more of the environment but still look professional even though they're not tight.

6 months ago, I stared looking at National Geographic again. The editor, Chris Johns, was a staff photographer for a long time. I read a quote from him talking about how he used to try to cram as many layers as possible into a photo to show the environment. In the magazine, I noticed that there were a lot of photos like that; he obviously has been pushing his photographers. I knew this had to be challenging, as it required feeling out, composing in 3 dimensions, and waiting for the best moment. But I decided I'd start trying.

I have the good fortune of subscribing to one of the more photojournalistic daily papers. I have noticed for the past year that many of the images that get run are wider shots that show the environment, tell a story, and sometimes have multiple layers.

So, for the past few months, I've been working on trying this approach in my own photojournalism. I don't quite have the hang of it yet, but I'm working on it. I've given up on actively composing; I no longer think about composition most of the time. I just trust my judgement. More often than not, I'm able to get away from the rule of thirds this way; the photos look less stiff and regimented when I think less. And I've been working on trying the wider, storytelling shots too.

It's hard, but I'm starting to successfully break out of a 15-year-long compositional tendency.

Has anyone else found that they are composing too tight sometimes, and need to pull back a bit?

An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
dagoldst Silver Member
12th Feb 2013
1
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
ZoneV Silver Member
12th Feb 2013
2
     Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
dagoldst Silver Member
12th Feb 2013
3
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
ericbowles Moderator
12th Feb 2013
4
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
Clyde57 Silver Member
12th Feb 2013
5
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
jbloom Gold Member
12th Feb 2013
6
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
ZoneV Silver Member
12th Feb 2013
7
Reply message RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition
dagoldst Silver Member
13th Feb 2013
8

dagoldst Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2012Tue 12-Feb-13 01:39 AM
2100 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#1. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 12-Feb-13 01:44 AM by dagoldst

Little Rock, US
          

My favorite lens on 35mm or FX is 35mm. Not too wide, not too telephoto...


N80 - 35mm f/2

HP5+




David

"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
ZoneV Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2005Tue 12-Feb-13 03:22 AM
3491 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 1
Tue 12-Feb-13 03:25 AM by ZoneV

US
          

>My favorite lens on 35mm or FX is 35mm. Not too wide, not
>too telephoto...
>
>
>N80 - 35mm f/2
>

Ok, well mine lately is the 16mm focal length on DX (24mm equivalent). Sometimes it doesn't quite get the edges in, but it's fun to work with when one is trying to expand one's horizons (no pun intended).

But yeah, the 35mm definitely can give depth to standard mid-range or closer detail type shots that would have been lacking if shot with, say, a 70mm. 35mm won't over-compress objects unless they're really far away...

An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
dagoldst Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2012Tue 12-Feb-13 03:25 AM
2100 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 2
Tue 12-Feb-13 03:25 AM by dagoldst

Little Rock, US
          


>Ok, well mine lately is the 16mm focal length on DX (24mm
>equivalent). Sometimes it doesn't quite get the edges in, but
>it's fun to work with when one is trying to expand one's
>horizons (no pun intended).
>
>But yeah, the 35mm definitely can give depth to standard
>mid-range or closer detail type shots that would have been
>lacking if shot with, say, a 70mm.

For DX, 18-24mm. I find when I shoot my 12-24mm for street work, I wind up, often as not, around 24mm.

David

"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Tue 12-Feb-13 03:26 PM
8592 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#4. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

Al

Nice post. I've certainly gone through some of the same thought process. Shooting tight and eliminating distractions is important, but its easy to create a lot of static images of things rather than the richer context of the environment. I find its a mix of images that I want. The mix needs to include tight shots, environmental shots, horizontal and portrait orientation, frontlit and backlit, and varied DOF. Even shutter speed needs more variation - I need more pan shots and slow shutter speeds of typical scenes and subjects.

For me, part of this means practice with unusual situations. For example, last week I shot a car show with nothing but a LensBaby. Earlier this week I shot some songbirds in light rain knowing that exposures would be slow and I needed adjustments to ISO and composition to get images of birds with light water drops. But I needed to take it to the next level and get more slow shutter images.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Clyde57 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Sep 2007Tue 12-Feb-13 06:00 PM
513 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 0


Punta Gorda, US
          

>I've given up on
>actively composing; I no longer think about composition most
>of the time. I just trust my judgement. More often than not,
>I'm able to get away from the rule of thirds this way; the
>photos look less stiff and regimented when I think less.

Over time I've come to a similar conclusion about composition. You don't construct a good photo by consciously using the rule of thirds and other composition "rules". You take a photo that your judgement tells you is a good photo. If you analyze the photo you may find composition "rules" evident in the photo that explain why the composition is pleasing.

I sometimes tend to come in too tight in my photos but I think that's developed from years of being comfortable with longer focus lenses. I've always had wide angle lenses but never used them a lot.

Although I'm not exactly sure what it is that is referred to as "multiple layers" in a composition, it sounds interesting and I might try working more with wide angle lenses to see what I discover.



Clyde

Take a look at my nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Tue 12-Feb-13 08:06 PM
6348 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#6. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 0


Wethersfield, US
          

>6 months ago, I stared looking at National Geographic again.

That reminds me... I don't know if this has been posted here, but NatGeo is running a special on the 7-disk set of every National Geographic issue, right back to the first one. The entire set is available for $25:

http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=2001482&code=NGHPFO94236

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
ZoneV Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2005Tue 12-Feb-13 08:18 PM
3491 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#7. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

>>6 months ago, I stared looking at National Geographic
>again.
>
>That reminds me... I don't know if this has been posted here,
>but NatGeo is running a special on the 7-disk set of every
>National Geographic issue, right back to the first one. The
>entire set is available for $25:
>
>http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=2001482&code=NGHPFO94236


Oh my God, thank you so much!
I will order this!

An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
dagoldst Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2012Wed 13-Feb-13 12:15 AM
2100 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#8. "RE: Undoing the damage - Advanced Image Composition"
In response to Reply # 6


Little Rock, US
          

Jon,

Thanks for the tip. Purchased!

David

"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Forums Lobby MULTILINGUAL NIKONIANS English Café (Public) topic #86990 Previous topic | Next topic


Take the Nikonians Tour and learn more about being a Nikonian Wiki /FAQ /Help Listen to our MP3 photography radio channels Find anything on Nikon and imaging technology - fast!

Copyright © Nikonians 2000, 2014
All Rights Reserved

Nikonians®, NikoScope® and NikoniansAcademy™ are trademarks owned by Nikonians.org.
Nikon®, Nikonos® and Nikkor® are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation.