7 Points for Learning Photography Composition

Photography is such a technical subject that many photographers get caught up in it, or snarled up in it, as the case may be. Cameras are such wonderful contrivances that we can get lured in by the latest gadgetry. While it certainly is important to know your camera, the camera doesn't take the photo, you do!

So how do you learn to get better shots and find your "voice" (or eye) as photographer? Are there some practical steps to take?

I believe there are. These are the steps that I recommend to my students, and that I myself have taken along the way:

1. You must get out and shoot, shoot, shoot. Like any activity—tennis, surfing (my sport of choice)—you name it—you've got to stay in shape by constantly looking for and capturing images.

2. Critique your work: Look over your shots and see if they match what you visualized. If not go back out and, if you're able to, get more of the same shot, or in any case more shots.

3. Look at other photographers' work for inspiration. Look through photography books and exhibits. Look at other visual artists' work too.

4. Go and get more of your own shots.

5. Find out what other photographers have said about composition. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

"Composition is the strongest way of seeing." Edward Weston "Our eye must constantly measure, evaluate. We alter our perspective by a slight bending of the knees; we convey the chance meeting of lines by a simple shifting of our heads a thousandth of an inch…. We compose almost at the same time we press the shutter, and in placing the camera closer or farther from the subject, we shape the details –taming or being tamed by them." Henri Cartier-Bresson

6. Go out and shoot photos using these points: Really look for the strongest way of seeing the image you have visualized. Bend your knees, tilt your head, look up, down and around until you see that shot. 7. Go out and shoot some more!

I hope this helps, let me know your thoughts...

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6 Comments

  • Mohamed Ghuloom

    Mark, that's more than a wonderful post. Loved it.. I'm not following one or two and I will try to improve.

    By the way, I have written a blog post on LENS Photography Blog under the title of:
    63 Ways to be a better photographer
    http://lens-bh.blogspot.com/20...

    Will appreciate your insight..

    PEACE,

  • Marc Silber

    Antonio, yes there will always be traditional photography and darkroom skills, it may be a diminishing art though.

    In any case the basics of the subject apply equally to digital and analog.

  • Marc Silber

    Antonio, yes there will always be traditional photography and darkroom skills, it may be a diminishing art though.

    In any case the basics of the subject apply equally to digital and analog.

  • Marc Silber

    Antonio, yes there will always be traditional photography and darkroom skills, it may be a diminishing art though.

    In any case the basics of the subject apply equally to digital and analog.

  • Antonio Arch

    Do you think there's a future for traditional photography that demands the chemicals, the darkroom, enlarger and "post-click" skills?

  • Thomas Hawk

    shoot, shoot some more, shoot some more, shoot every day, carry your camera with you everywhere you go. Process photos every day, stay on top of the latest software to process your imagery.