Photography forum: The Basics of Good Composition---Context and more on Cropping

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Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 8a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Birds Dog Lover Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
Amaryllis Lilies Daylilies Pollen collector Seed Starter Clematis
Image
SheilaC
Nov 29, 2015 5:01 PM CST
Hello Again!

Just a reminder that you only have today and tomorrow to submit your photos for the contest, which everyone can begin judging on December 1st. So, get your best photos in and best of luck to everyone!!

I wanted to get another quick tutorial in before then. I want you to notice the difference between an isolated subject that stands alone and one that would do better being placed in "context." What I mean by that is that many times I would find something that I thought looked really cool and I'd take a million shots of it from this angle and that angle only to find when reviewing them that there was absolutely no context for them. They were just hanging out there all by their lonesome.... Smiling Instead of the glorious photo I'd envisioned, they were looking pretty sparse instead.

Sometimes it absolutely works! Other times it doesn't. So, be thinking about whether your shooting a subject that can stand alone in the final analysis, or, whether it would be better viewed "in context."

Another element is whether you have "too much" in the background that is detracting from the subject or that's not adding to the overall composition. A background that's too busy will detract from your point of interest. Now, of course, the exception is when shooting landscapes and other wide angle shots. I'm talking here about single subjects, those that you're meaning to draw our eye too.

Here's a few shots I've taken recently of the rose hips that are hanging down from the Oak tree that it's climbed into over the years. Notice how lonely some of them are with no interest when hanging out there by themselves... Smiling Those placed in context have a much more pleasing appeal and lose no impact at all when being supported by other elements within the frame.

I want to mention a couple more things in this tutorial. The first is, when shooting very close macro/micro, you'd do well to make sure you have "something" in focus, however small the pin point. If nothing in the frame is in focus and it's all "soft" with nothing to "focus" on, the eye and the mind will move on because it's seeking something to rest on. It's seeking something to "focus" on. So, keep that in mind too! I love micro photography although I can't yet afford a dedicated lens or a zoom lens for my new Nikon, I've learned to push this little point and shoot Nikon to it's limits, so, keep at it and never shy away from experimenting with all your settings and the various methods of getting the most from whatever camera you're using!

The last element I'd like to touch on today involves cropping again. Don't limit yourself when cropping your photos to one of the standard sizes used for printing. Crop your photos so that your composition is as pleasing as possible and don't worry about having it fit within a 4x6, or, 5x7, or other frame. You can always make another copy of the original and use that to work from for printing specific sizes.

In the photos below, I hope you notice the ways in which they succeed, or, fail, depending on all those elements we've discussed so far. I have some better examples, but, I didn't want to give anything away, so, I decided to stick with this one subject matter.

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/71ab75

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/cda0f2

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/7a17d1

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/22ccdb

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/f09ee1

I'm not certain which I've posted so far....I'll do one more and then post it. Smiling

Thumb of 2015-11-29/SheilaC/033d49


Good luck to everyone on your contest submissions!

Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but, the heart as well. Sheila
[Last edited by SheilaC - Nov 29, 2015 5:12 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #998038 (1)
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 8a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Birds Dog Lover Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
Amaryllis Lilies Daylilies Pollen collector Seed Starter Clematis
Image
SheilaC
Nov 29, 2015 5:06 PM CST
I apologize as I seem to have misplaced the single shots I was wanting to show (for the time being) of those that are hanging by themselves. Although, the one example is a borderline in my mind...it could be better cropped to "maybe" help it out a bit. Maybe not... I'll look again after dinner. Sorry about that! Whistling

Thanks!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but, the heart as well. Sheila
[Last edited by SheilaC - Nov 29, 2015 5:11 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #998041 (2)
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 8a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Birds Dog Lover Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
Amaryllis Lilies Daylilies Pollen collector Seed Starter Clematis
Image
SheilaC
Nov 29, 2015 5:15 PM CST
I hope you see the photo that has too much going on as well. I feel as though the context doesn't add anything, but, actually detracts from the rose hips. In fact, I realize I didn't even bother to crop it as I knew I wouldn't be using it, but, pulled it out for this demonstration.
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but, the heart as well. Sheila
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 8a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Birds Dog Lover Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
Amaryllis Lilies Daylilies Pollen collector Seed Starter Clematis
Image
SheilaC
Dec 1, 2015 4:41 PM CST
I am loving all the photos submitted this year! What a joy it is to see those everyone entered! I'm having an especially hard time with the Landscaping category~~what fabulous entries! It's going to be very difficult narrowing them down!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but, the heart as well. Sheila
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 8a)
Dragonflies Butterflies Birds Dog Lover Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
Amaryllis Lilies Daylilies Pollen collector Seed Starter Clematis
Image
SheilaC
Dec 3, 2015 9:10 AM CST
Dave,

What happens if we don't get to the point of choosing only 3 entries in a category? Do none of them count? The entries for the Succulent and Cacti category are very difficult too!!! So many great photos!!!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but, the heart as well. Sheila

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