If Composition is King…

In a recent post on my previous website, I talked about the importance of light.  I plan to rewrite that article, injecting it with more meat, at some time in the near future, perhaps even in the next blog post.  I think it will compliment today’s post quite well, and I invite all of you to ponder what I say, comment and, most importantly, argue the merits of what I say.  None of what I am about to tell you is news, and most of you have probably heard it before a million times, and perhaps even apply it to your work, whether consciously or unconsciously. Many artists and photographers have discussed the subject at length, much more eloquently than I can ever hope to do.  That’s okay; it never hurts to hear it again: Composition is King!

Arches & Stairs

Say hello to… Mr. Fibinacci, everyone! Whether you know him or not, he’s your friend when it comes to composition.  Sure, I suppose the ol’ “Rule o’ Thirds” guideline works well enough, but I believe that getting to know Fibonacci, his number sequence and spiral, will get you thinking about your compositions in whole new… well, light!  That said, I read somewhere that whichever rule (or guidelines) you prefer, there is no need to fret, because the “sweet spots”  found in the Rule of Thirds, The Golden Mean, The Fibonacci Sequence, The Rule of Sticks, etc. all are all, almost imperceptibly, very close to each other.  Another thing you might consider is that, regardless of any of the rules and guidelines, remember they are all just suggestion, and suggestions are meant to be broken, right?  When applying the rule or guideline, don’t make your subject placement so precise that it stands out.

Say Hello to... Mr. Fibonacci!

As you can tell in the photographs I have included here, I have tried to compose (or frame, if you prefer that term) each piece so that a key element of interest in placed near the “sweet spot” of each image, either in accordance with he Fibonacci spiral, the rule of thirds, or the Golden Mean.  In some cases, I may have even combined rules (one for a foreground element, and the other for a background element).  When I go out to shoot brackets for my work, I am ALWAYS looking at subjects of interests and how I can position myself (and my camera) in way that will really get that subject front and center (whether my intended subject is actually in the foreground, or elsewhere in 3D environment I am shooting and trying to translate effectively in the 2D media that his the photograph.

Dude! Where's my ride?

I hope this post, at the very least, has forced you to think (or reinforced your thinking) about the importance of Composition in a photograph.  Quite frankly, no amount of post processing magic (be it HDR, filters, or Lucis Pro) will fix a badly composed image (though creative post-shot cropping can save your bacon)!  For those of you out there who “see” the shot instinctively, ignore what I said here; for the rest of us, Composition is King!

How 'bout a cuppa?

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show hide 12 comments

July 22, 2010 - 21:32

Jay Taylor (aka Sirfishalot) Jacques,
Very informative and thought provoking post. The images are quite outstanding. I agree that composition is one of, if not the most important element in a good photograph. Other aspects such as light, exposure, color, etc suffer a bit, but composition is key in bringing everything together IMHO.
Thanks for sharing.


July 22, 2010 - 21:58

Viveca Koh A fun and interesting article, illustrated with some top photos – thanks for re-posting because I did miss it the first time around!

July 22, 2010 - 22:16

Jacques Hey there Jay and Viveca! Really glad you all got a chance to read the post, and that you found the photos pleasing. I agree, completely, that light, exposure, color and other elements are so very important, but, as you noted composition is critical. I am planning to write posts to address some of these other important elements, however, in short order!

July 22, 2010 - 22:58

Marcel LOVE the cup of JOE!

July 23, 2010 - 08:46

Jacques Hi Marcel! Not the best tasting cup – and it’s cold, but it’ll do in such environs!

July 22, 2010 - 23:31

Chris Glad to see bigger and new (to me at least) photos!
– Chris

July 23, 2010 - 11:21

Jacques Glad to hear that, Chris! Keep visiting often, as I’m gonna keep pumping goodies out!

August 23, 2010 - 12:59

Kyle Marvelous pictures, any tips on how to get such good results?,

August 23, 2010 - 13:00

Kyle Technically good, but also aesthetically too!,

August 23, 2010 - 13:01

Kyle Beautiful!

August 23, 2010 - 23:09

Jacques Thanks, Kyle!

July 22, 2010 - 17:30

Tweets that mention If Composition is King… » Exposed by the Light — Topsy.com […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heath O'Fee, Jacques. Jacques said: How 'bout post stimulate the creative juices? Here ya go. I call it 'Composition is King!': http://bit.ly/b4hGnj #hdr #urbex #composition […]

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