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Friday, May 4, 2012

Composing Perfect Photographs

Composing Perfect Photographs



With easy prevalence of digital camera, taking photographs have become an almost spontaneous act, especially for youngsters armed with mobile phones with camera and very affordable point-n-shoot camera, at every instance of viewing or witnessing anything remotely ‘interesting’.

However, sadly the quality of the vast number of these photographs is poor not only from the technical aspect but also from compositional and aesthetical point of view. 
Group Photograph

Every photograph that is appealing to the viewer and eye catching must be well composed. So what is ‘composing’ all about?

A well composed image / photograph is the one that adheres to the basic principles of photography in terms of quality & quantity of light, angle of subject vis-à-vis photographer, location, ambience in which the photograph is taken.

One of the most important factors in composing a good photograph is light. After all, photography is all about light. The word photograph is derived from two Latin words – photos meaning light and graphos meaning writing / drawing! The following points have to be kept in mind:

  •  What is the source of light? Is it sunlight or artificial light?
  • Can the source be manipulated to compose the photograph?
  • Is the subject required to be evenly lit?
  • Is the exposure correct for the intensity of the light?
  • Can this photograph be can in out-door location or vice versa?



The photographer will have to analyze all these factors and in-fact many more depending on the final results desired or visualized. With all these variables, it does an challenging aspect to take a well composed photograph.

Let us take an example of taking a photograph, taken during evening / morning hours. The hour or so, before and after the sunset and sunrise respectively is known as ‘golden hour’. The reason being that, during this period, the light is soft resulting in soft diffused shadows and the climate generally being more pleasant, the scenes are more serene looking and eye pleasing, as compared to any other time of the day, when the sun is up in the sky, resulting in squinting of the subjects eyes along with other discomforting factors like sweat etc. due to bright sunlight and increased mercury levels.

With soft sunlight falling evenly on the subject, the photographer with his / her back to the sun can take some well composed photographs with best results from prime lens that have fixed focal lengths, mounted on a Digital SLR camera. For best results, it is highly desirable to mount the camera on a sturdy tripod, thereby preventing any camera shake what so ever.

The same principles can be applied while on vacation with friends and family to take photographs near monuments, tourist places and group photographs. The industrial photographs may or may not have people as the central characters and focus can be placed on capturing the location only.

Another popular way to take well compose photographs is under overcast skies! Most of the photographers shy away from clicking in this situation, but it does not always rain when clouds are covering the sun. With diffused sunlight, there are no deep and dark shadows to worry about and the result is an eye pleasing photograph.

The amount of expertise required for composing a well balanced photograph is studio setup is another challenging and specialized field of studio portrait photography. 

Check out some well compose photographs by industrial photographer - Pashminu