Essential skills for Photography – Skill 3

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In my previous blog post I introduced the third skill that I believe is essential in producing great photography. In today’s post I will explain another of these skills.

Composition

This is probably the first of the recognised traditional camera skills and one the many people will answer with when asked what do you think are the essential skills for photography. But a lot of people when starting out in photography (myself included) struggle with knowing how to create strong compositions. I can remember reading lots of books on the subject but never quite grasping what was being said. What I had failed to understand is that composition can’t be reduced to a set of rules that if followed will produce the best compositions.

Whilst it’s true that a strong composition is recognisable, it’s almost impossible to arrive at the perfect composition. What you need to strive for are strong compositions. Whilst you can follow some guidelines, it’s better to train yourself to recognise good composition as well as the faults of poor composition.

If your composition is weak it will hamper your photography as it will hide your vision and communication. When you get it wrong, the composition will jar with the audience and they won’t invest the time necessary to appreciate your work. Your communication will be hidden by the noise of poor composition. It’s a little like experiencing a small amount of static on the telephone line. Whilst you can still hear the conversation it becomes more difficult to hear the message, requiring more concentration. Your audience is choosey with their time as it’s precious. If they can’t hear your message clearly, they will move on to another message that is clear.

I will introduce another essential skill tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Essential skills for Photography – Skill 3

    Steve said:
    August 20, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Robin – whilst what you say is very true it is something many photographers should take to heart for a slightly different reason – when giving comment and criticism. Too many times I see in my minds eye those giving C&C running through a checklist – rule of thirds, balancing elements, leading lines, foreground interest, patterns etc etc, rather than really looking at the particular composition of an image and seeing if they ‘get it’. Yes some of these elements should be present in most any image, but not All in All images.

    I Enjoy your site.

    steve

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      August 20, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks Steve. I have also had the same experience. I was even once criticised for placing the horizon of an amazing lake reflection in the centre of the frame. I was advised that it needed to follow the rule of thirds. My rule of composition; if it looks good it’s right.

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