For this week’s blog post I want to talk about composition in your photography. Good composition is making sure you have a strong image without a lot of clutter or unnecessary items in it that detract from the eye of the viewer.
Good composition means your images only contain the “meat and potatoes” as it were to make for an image that the viewer looks at and says “WOW!” When I look through my viewfinder, I am trying to de-focus my eye and attention and concentrate on only what I feel will make the image strong and then move my framing to fit that scenario.
When out shooting, especially landscapes you want to simplify your image and exclude any extraneous items that are not going to add to the image’s overall composition. Many times this will mean moving around both physically and with your camera to change the view and get the exact “picture” that others will look at and their eyes will stay engaged in that final image as long as possible.
Many new shooters think that you cannot accomplish all of this with the crop sensor camera you buy through the school. This is not true, as although I prefer my full frame cameras for shooting landscapes, you can still get fantastic landscapes with a crop sensor body. Many of the crop bodies have fantastic wide angle lenses for shooting scenes with strong composition.
Many of the manufacturers have very good to high quality lenses for shooting landscapes even on a crop sensor body. Canon, for example has a really nice EF-S 10-20mm lens that makes fantastic wide landscapes!
I know that sometimes, when shooting there are other objects that detract from an image that you really want, for example a really beautiful church steeple with a fantastic, colorful sky behind it at sunrise or sunset but there are power lines in the field of view and they sit right where it is hard to get around them. You can try moving to a different position, but maybe you cannot get that same sky from a different angle or side of the building, this is when you have to get creative. Try a longer focal length lens to get a tighter framing for the shot. It might not be the larger view that you originally wanted but at least you got the important part without the detracting power lines.
Considering limiting your objects in your view when shooting for your next assignment or shooting for yourself. You will find that your images will be stronger and you should get a better critique from that professor. Throw that final image on a site such as Student Stock or 500px and let other photographers view and rate it to see how you did, you may be amazed with the results.