COMPOSITION
 

Portrait or Landscape

Portrait or Landscape - where holds the most interest? In the height of the image, or in its width?


Portrait - is there more interest in the height of the photograph? Turn your camera on its end. This is good for portraits of individuals, mountains, products that have more height than width, wine bottles, etc. But of course, if you are telling a story using props and background, the focus can become a part of the landscape, and you can keep your camera in its landscape format. 

The focus being on the students taking water samples, and their height going from top to bottom influences this photograph to be a portrait. The people would have been considerably smaller in the frame if I had photographed this horizontally. 

The focus being on the students taking water samples, and their height going from top to bottom influences this photograph to be a portrait. The people would have been considerably smaller in the frame if I had photographed this horizontally. 

Landscape - obviously, used for landscape vistas but can also be used for food dishes, group photos, interiors and 'setting the scene' type images. If there is more interest along your horizontal, keep your camera in the landscape format.

Photographed vertically (portrait version) this photograph would have lost context. I would only get a snippet of this girls friends in the photo, and it wouldn't show the hive and colour of the event.

Photographed vertically (portrait version) this photograph would have lost context. I would only get a snippet of this girls friends in the photo, and it wouldn't show the hive and colour of the event.

Camera Viewpoint

Shoot from different angles - get down low, climb high and photograph down, shoot from above. If you are trying to tell a story about a child and their day, seeing it from their viewpoint will get the story told more honestly and interestingly. 
Photograph objects from a different angle to make it stand out. 

 

 

What will be the best angle to shoot from?
Above, side on, behind, in front, from below. Perhaps look at your subject from all viewpoints and try photographing it differently to what you normally would. 

 

 

 

 

 

Content selection

Good compositions leave the viewer with no doubt as to what they need to look at. Start to fill the frame more with your subject - this can eliminate the unwanted elements and distractions. Walk closer or zoom closer.
Think about what you need in the image. Do you really need the bin, overflowing storage and people chatting in the corner of the office? Crop in or walk closer.
Do you need to have the stove with food splatters?
People in the background of a portrait? Face them the other way.
Trees or power lines growing out of heads? Move the people or change your camera angle.

 

Scan the frame before pressing the shutter and make sure there are no distractions.

Look at what is behind your subject and make sure nothing clashes with them i.e., poles/trees/other heads out of heads.

Get subject away from wall - pull your subject away from the wall unless you want deep black shadows behind them. Especially when using directional flash, either on or off camera, the light that is falling on your subject will also be casting a shadow on what is behind them. If you have to use an on-camera flash, make sure there is a metre or so between your subject and a wall/object. 

The viewers eye is drawn through the photo to the light through the archway. 

The viewers eye is drawn through the photo to the light through the archway. 

Eyes stray to the brightest part of an image - try and make sure your subject is it! One contradiction to this is where your subject is in a high key environment, meaning there is lots of bright white background. If there is no detail in the background, this will work as the eye would have nothing to look at in the bright part of the image. 

Backlight - not much detail that draws the viewers eye.

Backlight - not much detail that draws the viewers eye.

 

 

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