I have a simple question for you. Why do you enjoy photography? When I first asked myself this question, I thought, “Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s what I do for a living! I never get tired of picking up my camera and “going to work.” But this doesn’t really answer the question, does it? It just states that I enjoy photography.
As with every skill, be it conscious or instinctive, your ability to choose composition for any given moment you wish to capture improves with time, practice and experience. And it’s not just composition, of course, but the sense of light, peak moment, emotion. I strongly believe our photography, from a certain point, represents us not just as artists (especially because not all photographers are inherently artists, which is in no way a bad thing), but also as personalities. Our choice of light, mood, subject and/or object, environment, color and message mirrors that which we like, do not like, how we see, how we live, how we feel. It mirrors our character, for we imprint ourselves in our work, leave a signature made not with ink or light, but with our very essence. And so it is with composition. If you are a calmer person, prefer simple, few things and like your environment tidy, it is likely these personality traits will reflect in your photography and you will seek simple, minimalistic, tidy, static, calm composition choices. If, on the other hand, you are an active, emotional person, there’s a good chance you will take a more dynamic approach to composition with more subjects and perhaps even chaotic arrangement of elements within your work.
One of the most important considerations any photographer makes is determining compositional lines in images they create. In this short article, I will be discussing how various elements can become leading lines and add to the visual flow of your images.
One of the most common mistakes I see when reviewing images submitted by our readers, or when reviewing portfolio images during our workshops, is a rather simple case of crooked horizons or badly aligned lines. Although most photographers are very well aware of this one, for some reason many simply fail to see such problems in their images. Now it is one thing when an image is tilted intentionally to create an interesting composition, and totally different when the photographer is not paying attention to or is unaware of the surroundings and background elements that are part of their photographs. In this article, I will demonstrate examples of crooked horizons and badly aligned lines, how they can be easily fixed in post-processing software like Lightroom, and talk about the importance of lines in composition.
Often when we are creating images, especially landscapes, we can get so focused on the main subject that we forget to think about incorporating a foreground element to help add depth and drama to our scene. There are a number of different approaches we can use. In this short article I’ll be illustrating three simple and effective ways you can incorporate foreground elements into your images. The first is something that I like to call a ‘bottom band’ during my landscape seminars.
Considering the rule of thirds is perhaps the most popular (certainly the best known) way of composing an image, but only a short while ago did it dawn on me that not everyone is familiar with this composition guide. But that’s alright. After all, the first reason why we are here is to learn. What I found slightly worrisome is that we didn’t actually have an article on the rule of thirds. It is about time we rectify the problem.
I will start this giveaway announcement with a short story. Why? Because people working at LoveCases are brilliant. So here it goes. A few months ago, I was contacted by a chap named David on behalf of an UK-based camera bag and accessory store, LoveCases.co.uk. He made a proposal to me – their team would send me a bag of my choice, and I would review it for them. I had nothing against the idea, why would I? There was only one condition that I thought was important we established – no matter what it was that they sent me, my impressions would always be my own, honest and unaffected by anyone else. Just as they would be if I had purchased the product myself. And you know what? A little while later, I wrote this.
During the past several weeks, we’ve been mostly talking about equipment and all sorts of technical aspects of digital photography. We’ve covered the Nikon D810, talked about its dynamic range, discussed the sRAW format, reviewed the Canon 6D and suggested settings for different cameras. We reviewed the Nikon D750 and even the flagship D4 and D4s cameras. I won’t even mention all the ISO comparisons and new equipment impressions. There were plenty more articles and you know what? You liked them. A lot. Which is a huge compliment for us, because of all the effort it took us to prepare them. Having said that, we could not help but notice just how much you liked them… And, at some point, I even thought – perhaps a little too much? Don’t throw stones at me, but are cameras and software always the right aspects of photography to focus on? Alright, saying it’s the wrong one to focus on is perhaps a little too naive. After all, if we did not use our equipment (and to use it one must first learn how to), we would not be able to enjoy photography. And yet it may be that, after so many technical articles, there is something righter (forgive me for coming up with words as I go) that deserves our attention. It may be that we need to balance out the sRAW talk with composition, the camera choices with actual photography. It may be that we need a week of photography and not a single review published. What do you say?
< Exactly after two years since the Nikon D4 announcement, Nikon made the D4s public at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 6, 2014. Although the camera was not ready for a full announcement, Nikon wanted to have something to show at the CES, so it only hinted about the development of the camera and its intentions to preview it. The camera was officially announced at the end of February and the first units started to ship shortly after in March. The Nikon D4s is a modest upgrade over the D4, with very slight ergonomic changes, expanded ISO range, faster image processor, faster wired / Ethernet speed, improved battery capacity and a bunch of new firmware options. As an incremental update, the Nikon D4s basically solidified the already superb D4 and made it even better.
In my recent Street Photography in Greece article I mentioned that I used DxO ViewPoint 2 to apply perspective adjustments to many of my street photography images. A number of readers contacted me outside of the discussion forum and asked me if I could demonstrate a couple of common adjustments that I do with this software as they were unfamiliar with it.