Why Focus on Composition?

One of my goals in 2017 is to improve the overall quality of my photos by learning and mastering different aspects of Photography. My Photography has definitely grown leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. However, I have only scratched the surface there is still so much to learn. One of the first things that I want to focus on is Composition. Why Composition?

Composition, by no stretch of imagination, is a new concept. Go back in history and look at some well recognized piece of art – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch, you’ll notice strong compositional techniques. Nothing was done or placed in random. Everything single thing was well thought out.

The Masters of Art from the beginning of time to some of the recent Masters of Photography clearly understood the power of Composition. They purposefully arranged different elements in the frame to guide a viewer’s eye seamlessly across the frame. Few topics are more important in art and in photography as Composition. It can make or break your photos.

Once you are familiar with some of the Compositional techniques, you’ll start noticing it all great works of art. As a matter of fact, several books/articles I have read and several tutorials I have watched, all recommend that you look at some of the best pieces of art (some that I have listed above) to learn how the masters have used the different compositional techniques. Most of the techniques are universal. You’ll spot them everywhere.

Composition is one of the first qualities of a photo that catches your viewer’s attention. A photo with great composition is easily identifiable. Viewers are naturally attracted towards photos with solid composition. Your composition has the power, if done right, to create a feeling far greater than a photo that was taken of the same location without any thought to composition. Where and how you place various elements/objects in your frame can significantly impact the viewer’s reaction.

What I have realized is that Composition is not one of those things that you either have or don’t. It can certainly be learned and mastered. Some people have it naturally, others understand and develop compositional techniques easily, and for others it may take deliberate practice and persistence. Bottom-line, Composition is a skill that can be learned and honed through deliberate practice.


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