Composition and Art Category Archive

Compose Better Photos with Gestalt Theory

One of the better-known theories of perception is Gestalt Psychology. It deals with the way we organize information (usually visuals, but not always) into wholes. While Gestalt Theory isn’t mentioned very often in discussions about composing good photos, I think that’s a mistake.

Behind the Shot: Blue Hour in Iceland

In today’s article, I’ll go into the story, camera settings, and post-processing behind this photo I took of Iceland’s Vestrahorn Mountain. From a technical standpoint, it wasn’t too hard to take, but a decent bit of luck went into this photo as well.

The Almost Portfolio

I’ve always enjoyed seeing alternate versions of famous photographs. Maybe frame #22 is the photo everyone knows about, while frames #18-21 have faded into obscurity – despite showing the same subject with minor variations. Of course, it’s not just famous photographers. Every photographer out there has an “almost portfolio.”

Photography from the Heart and Head

In my opinion, a bridge exists between the heart and the head in photography, just as it does in many other areas of life. I use “bridge” rather than a word like “battle” because they aren’t really at odds with each other. They’re just two parts of the photographic process.

New Year, New Youtube Videos

I’m happy to kick off the 2020s at Photography Life by announcing a new weekly series of Youtube videos, including one I’ve published today. This video covers a bunch of ways to take better photos with any camera.

Shooting and Posing with Model Cars

It’s just a little fun so try to unfurrow your brow. I’m sure this site will get back to ‘serious photography’ right after this. Last year I wrote about the fun to be had making model cars look real and shared a few projects that I was commissioned to make....

Don’t Confuse Effort with Results

It’s one of the most familiar stories that I hear: “You wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to take this photo. I captured it on the hardest hike of my life, but it was absolutely worth the effort.” And then the photo - though rarely a complete failure - just...

Making Sense out of Chaos

The natural world can be a chaotic place. If you’re a landscape photographer, you’ve probably found yourself taking pictures of scenes that seem too disorganized and overwhelming to work right no matter what you do: forests, canyons, coastlines, and so on. You’re chasing the elusive gem of simplicity within a...

Visualization and Film Photography

As a follow-up to my previous essays on visualization, in this article I will share select photographs made on film with a detailed description of the thought process, the choice of tools, and technical considerations that were involved. I have chosen two starkly different photographs (both landscapes) to discuss. I...