Thursday, January 14, 2010

Composition - Choosing What to Put In and What to Leave Out

In this series of photos of the statue of Andrew Jackson in Jackson Square, New Orleans all of the photos are of the same thing, but are very different. Before clicking the shutter, the photographer needs to make a decision of what the photo is about. Is it to give a landscape view of the park or might someone be more interested in a close-up view of the statue. For someone who has never been to the Square, looking at the close-up view wouldn't be very satisfying in getting a picture of what the square looks like. For someone who really doesn't care about the square, but is an afficianado of "Old Hickory" (Andrew Jackson), the close-up view is going to be more interesting.
You can also see by these three shots, that even though they are of the same thing with the same lighting and camera, there is a very different feeling in each. Placing an object in relation to other objects can sometimes inform about relative size (as in the top view) or be distorting as in the middle view where the statue looks almost as large as the St. Louis Cathedral.
Even though you're shooting digital and don't have to worry about "wasting" film, take some time before you click the shutter. Walk around the area and view the scene from different angles to see where the best light is, assess the whole scene, and think about what story you want to tell.
The top photo, Jackson Square, 1/320, f14, 32 mm, and the middle is Place D'Armes,and bottom Old Hickory are 1/250, f13, 52 mm. All 3 photos shot with an infrared converted Nikon D70.

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