February Photography Lesson: Composition

Such a big topic and only one month! And a short month at that. I should have saved a longer month for this one.
One of the big things that separates a good photo from a snapshot is that extra attention to composition and detail. That second look before pushing the shutter. And that third look when editing.
I found so many wonderful youtube videos discussing composition. Some of the better ones discuss more than one concept around composition so I will list the videos I recommend and my comments about them.
Symmetry. Extremely short, less than a minute:
Symmetry and asymmetry, 4 minutes:
Rule of Thirds  3.5 minutes:  Great video, quick pace, but to the point.
Overall composition tips. 16 minutes. The first part of the video discusses the rule of thirds:
7 common photography composition mistakes. Basic but great reminders. 7 minutes.

For those that want more advanced lessons, I found the art of photography series on youtube very good. I have to confess I wish he would get to the point quicker. But some great concepts and he uses some very famous photos to illustrate his points. Love seeing the classics. Most of the videos are around 16 minutes.
Here is one on the rule of thirds but there are 6 addition composition videos using other concepts. I really liked the rule of odds, but probably doesn't lend itself to doodle photos.
Shoot your doodle using one of the 2 principles of composition below. I would advise shooting with a little more space than you normally do and use cropping if you need to. There are many other concepts, and some are mentioned in the videos, but I don’t want to make it too complicated or too open ended. If you find one of the other principles mentioned in the video that is really compelling to you, you are welcome to use it and please mention it when you post your photo.1. Rule of thirds. The go-to composition rule for photographers. This is an overlay grid in the lightroom crop tool. If you are using photoshop you can use the cropping tool and one of the pull down menus to the top shows rule of thirds as an overlay option. I also recommend unchecking the “delete cropped pixels” unless you have no desire to ever rethink your decision. If you have any problems finding this grid let me know and I can help in either of these programs.2. Symmetry. This one is pretty obvious. But symmetry can also include balance. See the videos.For each photo posted state the principle of composition you are using. I will restrict my comments to composition, cropping, and elements in the frame that affect composition. It’s no surprise that I love shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh, so a hint: it's an easy way to remove distracting elements in the background of your photos.
Can't wait to see the photos!
I know it's cold in a lot of places. If you have a photo shot previously and you are not sure about cropping this is also an invitation to post and get feedback. Comments will be limited to composition only. 
Another tip: almost all cameras have the ability to display a grid (such as the rule of thirds) in the viewfinder.

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  • Thanks, just a quick attempt.

  • Cheryl, it was the first one I thought had the most potential. I see very little of the tree in that one. So I'm not clear on why Finn can't be closer to the wheel in this exact composition.

    I think Finn closer to the wheel would work best to get everything in focus. This is the kind of photo where you want everything to be crisp. Also closer will eliminate more of the tree. I would pick a day that is overcast, or time of day when you don't get the strong sunlight hitting the back part.

    Not worried about the tree branches as those are easy to clone out, but if the season gets too late there may be leaves to contend with. Also not worried about a few non-distracting asymmetrical details like the fencing being different. And as long as the light on the bricks is even when you shoot you could flop the bricks on the left to the right side and it would be an easy patch (for me). 

    There's time to get the shot. If you don't, no worries. I give credit to anyone that braves bad weather to get a photo. 

  • I might have a solution.

  • Me too!!

  • My dogs see a picnic table now and automatically jump up on it :) LOL I just don't want to get on the ground.

    • LOL,  I am lying on the ground and people walk by commenting on how well behaved my dog is.  If only they knew!

    • No one ever says that to me. LOL Lying on the ground....this is why my dogs are on the picnic table, so I don't have to!

  • We got another big dump of snow the last couple days...so we ventured out for hopefully our last Hurrah before Spring3367073246?profile=original

    • This is a great shot, Joani!

    • Wonderful composition and adorable image.  I think the snow needs cooling down--it looks pinkish on my monitor.

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