Re: Re: Lesson 6 – Basic Photography Composition

Duncan Rawlinson

Hello and thank you for submitting this assignment.

This assignment was designed to help you simplify space in natural environments. While you didn’t use a wide range of space, you did do a great job of simplifying your composition through limitations in both objects and colors. Great work!

Let’s just jump right into it. The reason I’m drawn towards the more “formal” photograph is because your subject lends itself well to this framing. The further you are back the less impact your subject has. This is common sense when photographing such detailed, beautiful and intricate subjects. The closer you are the more you’ll pick up on these details. By widening your composition you de-emphasize the textures, colors and intricate details. Instead the focus becomes the shape of the object rather than the details.

For such detail rich subjects it’s almost always better to be close unless something in the background is providing such strong context or story that is more interesting than the subject itself. For example, imagine an old lady. A nurse during WWII. Imagine her story. Imagine the wrinkles in her face. Her smile. Her way of dress. The experiences her eyes have seen. You would want your camera in as close to this as possible. Again, unless the background upstages her interesting facial features it’s better to focus on the stronger part of the story. In your case, I think you made the right decision with your ‘formal” composition.

Another reason why I say this is because I’m immediately distracted with your informal photograph because of the slight amputation of the butterfly’s wing on the bottom of the photograph. This looks accidental to me. It seems you were paying too much attention to the middle of your photograph and you neglected your 4 walls temporarily.

My last point deals with sharpness. Your image is very close to being in perfect focus. When it’s not enlarged it’s hardly noticeable, but when you enlarge your photograph the sharpest point in the composition is not the butterfly’s “eyes”. The sharpest part of the focus seems to be on their leg behind their torso. It’s such a small detail, but as you progress and want to start enlarging your prints and issues of soft focus will become increasingly important.

You could solve this in two ways.

1. Always use a tripod and when you’re not using a tripod be very still and use a fast shutter speed. This will help you achieve sharp focus

2. Use the “focus assist” feature on your camera. Almost all camera’s have this feature that let’s you temporarily zoom in way past the capabilities of your camera for the sole purpose of checking your focus. You can’t take a picture in focus assist mode. So once you find your focus, don’t move and take the photograph. Remember focus on the eyes, eyes eyes. This is true for both portrait photography and animal photography. Using focus assist will help you increase the production value of your photographs 100 fold.

Overall, beautiful work. I truly enjoyed looking at this photograph immensely. Thank you for submitting it.