Mini – Assignment – 1 -Composition First

Composition First! – Mini Assignment #1

January 15, 2010 by Julie McLeod

Whether novice or seasoned photo bloggers, I’m sure we share at least one goal – we’d like to post images that make an impact on our viewers.  Since our 2010 Virtual Photowalk blogs are meant to showcase our photography, we want our images to be strong enough to convey our intended message, tell a compelling story, or even elicit emotion.  There’s no doubt that we’re a pretty diverse group and we’re certainly all at different places as photographers.  Our numbers include beginners and intermediate photographers.  Some of us are struggling to learn the technical aspects of our cameras while others are exploring advanced techniques.  Our tools range from basic kits to gear bags filled to the brim with high-tech goodies.  The artistic side of photography is what grabs a lot of us, while some dig the technical aspects.  Despite these differences, each of us has the same opportunity to create a photo that is both pleasing and effective, and that creates a connection with the viewer.

We’re going to start our series of monthly mini-assignments with the basics of composition and explore some established conventions designed to help us create strong images.  Imagine that we have a big, empty frame to fill each time we shoot.  Compositional rules can help us decide exactly what to put in the empty frame (and what to discard), as well as how to arrange the elements within the frame.  Have you ever taken a painting course or art appreciation class?  You may be familiar with some of these rules, as they are common to other visual arts.  Even if you’ve never studied them, the principles may be somewhat instinctive for you.  But, rest assured, if you’re not lucky enough to have them come naturally, the rules are quite easy to grasp.   A review of on-line material tells us that many more compositional ‘rules’ are used in the context of photography than we’d be able to address in our mini-assignment so we’ve decided to focus on a few popular ones.  Keep in mind that while our assignment is to examine these rules, it is up to each of us to choose what we want to put into our photos.  And sometimes the rules will best be broken or bent to serve that choice.  But, we’ll all benefit from knowing the rules so we can make informed decisions about breaking them.  So, onwards with the mini-assignment…

Mini – Assignment #1:

We’d like you to begin by reviewing the following article from Amateur Snapper entitled “Ten Top Photography Composition Rules”:

http://www.amateursnapper.com/photography/10-top-photography-composition-rules

After reading it, take a look around online for more articles and photographic examples, browse your old art textbooks, or go to the library and study the old masters or photographic greats.  Then,

  • Pick one of the compositional rules and experiment with taking shots that both use the rule and break the rule.
  • Then post at least two of your resulting photos on your blog – match a ‘rules’ images and a ‘broken rules’ images for a single subject.  So, for example, to demonstrate The Rule of Thirds, you might post an image of an obelisk centered exactly in the middle of the frame as your ‘broken rules’ image and the same obelisk aligned with one of the vertical thirds of the frame as your ‘rules’ image.
  • In your accompanying blog post, indicate which rule you put into play.  Explain what choices you made when you composed your image and comment on whether you think that applying the rule enhanced your image or not.
  • Once you have posted your examples to your blog, follow the directions in the sidebar for posting the link to your blog using Mr. Linky.   (See “Mr. Linky How-To”)
  • Feel free to do more than one rule but please make a second post on your blog and add a second Mr. Linky link.
  • Pleasedo leave comments for other bloggers on their blogs.
  • In the comments section here, please leave general comments about composition and compositional rules.  We’d love to have additional useful links listed in the comments as well.

2 Responses to “Mini – Assignment – 1 -Composition First”

  1. Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

  2. I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

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