Adventures in Photography Class – Ep. 5: Composition (Part 1)

Good Friday, dearest readers! It’s wet and gray, but it’s still a good day. Today was my second to last day of class before my “off-season” (aka, the two extremely busy yet insanely fun weeks I’m going to spend living out of cars and hotel rooms). So to celebrate, I’ve got part one of my latest daily assignment for my photography class. Lately, we’ve been dealing with composition:

Composition is a pretty self-explanatory idea. It deals with setting up your shots and being able to see what will make a good picture and what will not. But composition is certainly not as easy as it may sound. There are several different techniques that make up a well composed shot. Here are two of the ones we’ve practiced:

Framing

The first concept of composition we worked on was framing which is exactly as the words says. It’s about putting a border around your subject in the photo. This could be anything from a door frame to any form of arch or even something much more creative. For instance:

Comp_Framing

This is my friend Jairen. With Ren sitting on one end of the bench, I (being the “dedicated” photographer that my friends like to call me) laid on the ground and used the arm of the bench to frame him. Not too shabby, eh? So why is framing important? Well, one purpose of having a well composed shot is calling attention to the right things in the photo. Since Ren was what I wanted to bring attention to, putting a border around him forces the eye to look at him rather than to look at anything else. Framing also gives a new perspective on things, especially in this photo in which one wouldn’t normally find any aesthetic value in the circular arm of a bench.

Lines

The second concept we covered was lines. The point of this is to pay attention to the various lines and patterns that are out in the world. This could be anything from the stripes on a flag or the cracks in the bark of a tree. Lines are everywhere, and they can certainly making for intriguing photos. I’m starting to see shots in pretty much everything as I walk down the street, and a few days ago, as I was on my way to class, I found this little beauty:

Comp_Lines

I’m not entirely certain what it is, but I liked how it spiraled. I think it holds up some sign or something, but I thought it was a good example of interesting lines that can be found around campus. The lines are both curved and sharp. It’s very similar to the lines on a screw (there’s the theatre kid in me coming out); if you’re not careful, you could get cut (and trust me, having a screw drilled into any facet of your body is not a pleasant feeling). But lines don’t have to be sharp and rigid. They can be as fluid as water and soft on the eyes. It simply depends on the line.

So there you have it. Yet another lesson from class. Part two is on its way soon, and I think you’ll like those photos a lot. I am really proud of them. I like composition. I feel like I really get to challenge my ability to see art in a way that most people don’t. These assignments are starting to cater to my attention to detail, so I’m all for completing this kind of homework.

But now, I must be off to prepare for brush up rehearsals on this show that we’re remounting at the largest theatre conference in the country next week. Sounds epic right? Have a great weekend, everyone!

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