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Is it possible to learn composition, or do you just have a feel for it?

I think there is an argument for both sides, many people have an ‘eye for ‘ or natural tallent in taking a visually pleasing photograph but when analysing these peoples work you will find that normally they are following basic composition rules in one way or another even if they are not aware of them. I believe that giving these same rules to someone that taking a photo doesn’t come naturally to will result in there photography composition skills will improve.

Exercise 1.2 Point

I will come back to this exercise.

Exercise 1.3 (1) Line

Exercise 1.3 (2) Line

One interesting thing I noticed with this exercise was, with the first 3 images the lines all lead the view directly into the centre of the photo but with the lines created by the shape of the room in the fourth photo, they lead you to look through the photo. I enjoy using leading lines in a photo to draw attention to something. With the photos in the 2nd part of the exercise, I found them very quick to look at, there isn’t anything to pull the eye through the photo so finding other ways to make the image captured interesting is important.

Cropping vs Framing

As I understand it Framing in this context is the image as taken, the frame is the 4 edges of the photo and the aim is to get the composition correct in camera but cropping is a tool to refine the frames after the fact. I, like many others, use cropping as a safety net and fix when the framing wasn’t quite right when the photo was taken.

It is important not to use cropping where possible as you will lose the quality of the image. The best way to fill the screen on Instagram is portrait so I tend to crop to a portrait aspect ration when my intention is to share photos on it but if my intention is to print in portrait I would shoot in portrait.

Exercise 1.4 Frame

For this exercise, I used my lens ball to be the focus of the photo and composed the photos in different sections of the frame to analyse the relationship of the effect the position over the overall photo.

For me, the best images are 3 and 4 where you have the background context in the frame as well as the lens ball sitting on one of the rule of thirds junctions.

Normally I would look to place my subject on one the rule of thirds junctions but I have learnt from this exercise the importance of the context in the rest of the frame.


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