Composition and Art Category Archive

What You Leave Out of the Photo

Composition, as it’s usually explained, is the way you arrange the visual elements within a photo. But that definition misses something. A large portion of what’s important when composing a photo isn’t within the photo at all. Instead, it’s the bits outside the frame that are completely excluded from the image.

What to Photograph When There’s Too Much to Photograph

Last year, I wrote an article about finding subjects to photograph when there isn’t anything obvious to shoot. That’s a common situation in photography: not enough good subjects. Sometimes, however, the opposite is true, where there’s an abundance of good subjects and not enough time to photograph them all.

Living Within Your Dynamic Range

One of the quieter revolutions in digital image quality has been dynamic range. The days of picking between highlight detail and shadow detail are gone; almost any modern camera can capture both simultaneously with ease. But even though this capability is remarkable, it’s also easy to overuse.

What Is Composition? A Photographer’s Guide

I’m in the process of updating Photography Life’s full-length, multi-article tutorial about composition. This article is Chapter 2 of the guide, where I’m introducing and defining composition – including what makes some compositions succeed while others fail.

What to Photograph When There’s Nothing to Photograph

I’m on the annual Photography Life fall colors workshop with Nasim, and our group ran into a tricky photographic situation this morning. A beautiful mountain overlook was completely blocked by clouds at sunrise, ruining any photos we had in mind. Time to pack it up and go home? Not quite.

Best Photography Memoirs

If you're looking for good weekend reads in photography - enjoyable books that also serve as education and inspiration - this list is for you. The books I cover below are all memoirs by photographers detailing their creative, photographic, and artistic journeys. Some read like novels and others are crash...

How to Make Photos Feel More Deliberate

Most of the time, when you see a good photo, you’ll get a sense that the photographer took it deliberately. But how can you tell that? What subtle things about the photo make it appear deliberate rather than random? That’s what I’ll cover today.

Transitions and Extremes in Landscape Photography

If you show up at a promising location for landscape photography, how do you choose which direction to start walking and exploring? It’s not always obvious, especially if the landscape in front of you is something like sand dunes or salt flats where you can go any direction.

Understanding Texture in Photography

There are many tools in a photographer’s “emotional toolbox” – the things you can do in photography to shift a photo’s emotional message in your preferred direction. The one I’ll be talking about today is texture.

Timing and Direction in Landscape Photography

Landscape photographers would have a much easier time if only we could move the sun to suit our whims. (We’d make sure to put it back afterward.) Alas, unless you’re an unapologetic Photoshopper – or maybe a Luminary these days – you can’t do much to change the natural light.