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insights into photography
Tag Archives: By: Andrew S. Gibson
October 27, 2014Posted by on
Here is another post to get you seeing and shooting better. There is no doubt the best thing you can do is to practise your photography, that doesn’t mean practising taking great pictures it means learning by repeating techniques so that when you really need them you know them by heart. Imagine you were learning the piano you wouldn’t just sit and play pieces you would practise well do the same with your photography.
An eye for composition is one of the things that elevates the work of the best photographers above the rest. One of the best ways to learn about composition is focus on applying one idea at a time. You can treat it as an exercise that will help you improve your composition skills, the same way that piano players practice scales. Here are five ideas to get you started.
#1 Use a single lens
Lenses have an enormous influence on the look of a photo, and the best way to learn exactly what effect they have is to spend some time using just one lens. Ideally it would be a prime lens, but if you have a zoom you can use a piece of tape to fix the lens to one focal length (some lenses have a locking switch you can use instead).
If you use a single focal length you will become intimately acquainted with its characteristics.
While it is useful to own multiple lenses, the ability to switch from one to another may mean that you don’t get to know any of them very well. This exercise helps overcome that tendency.
#2 Work in black and white
My favourite recommendation for learning more about composition is to work in black and white.
Colour is such a powerful element that it dominates most photos. It becomes more difficult to see and appreciate the underlying building blocks of composition liketexture, line, pattern and tonal contrast. Take colour away and all these things become easier to see; once you are aware of them, you can start using them to improve the composition of your photos.
For example, in the black and white photo above, did you notice the shapes in the photo? I’m referring to the white rectangle of the cinema screen (yes, that’s what it is), the shapes of the Chinese letters and the diamond pattern in the stones on the ground. All these things are easier to see in black and white.