Analyzing the Effect of Composition in Photography

One conclusion that can be drawn about composition in photography is the fact that situations change. You should not consider rules as limitations but guides that can help you more often than not. You should not hesitate to disregard rules if there are compelling reasons. You should not ignore any rule. Even when applying rules, you should look for exceptions.

Three methods can be used to verify the validity of any composition. All three methods are based on the assumption that a picture that appears correct is usually right, regardless of how far it may appear to deviate from standard standards.

1. Cut two L-shaped pieces from gray or white cardboard.

If they are gray on one side and white on the other, the edges of the cardboard can be clearly seen against any type of image. To create a frame with adjustable proportions, face them in opposite directions. You can move it around to frame different parts of the image and adjust its proportions. You can create a more robust composition by cropping an image and then printing it. You don’t have to adhere to the standard dimensions of the film. Any time an image is improved, you can crop it. You can also change the way you look through the viewfinder. It may be better to print only a small portion of an image and display it on a negative.

2. This second method of analysis is more helpful in guiding future work than saving what you’ve done.

You can make a picture that doesn’t “look right” by holding your thumb over each of the major and minor elements. It is best to remove an element if the picture does not look better. If the image looks less intense because of its absence, it can be considered essential. This deletion may not be enough to strengthen the image. This is a post-mortem device to see what caused the picture to die. However, it could help prevent another similar disaster in the future.

3. It is a good idea to give time for your judgment to improve.

You can hang your best work for long-term evaluation if you have enough wall space. You will be amazed at how easily you can live with an image. If you get tired of the image, take the time to look at why. Does the image look dull? Are subtle flaws becoming more noticeable over time? Is the image a “grab-the-eye” poster-like quality that engages the mind only temporarily?

These questions and many others can be answered with time. Sometimes pictures you thought were relatively minor can actually have remarkable staying power. These are the subtle ones. You can let time pass, but you should keep looking and thinking.