Four elements make up every photograph we shoot today. Focus, Exposure, White Balance, and Composition. As photographers, it’s easy to find information on the first three, but composition, for many, remains a nebulous enigma.
As we compose an image, we are considering a variety of Design Controls. These consist of basic design elements such as line, point, framing, shape and form, patterns and repetition, balance, depth and horizon. Oh, don’t worry, there are more and we don’t have the space to explain them all. That’s not the point today.
What is the point is that to be a great photographer, you must become a student of art. You must be committed to becoming a lifelong learner and one of the areas of study should be art. Learn about color. Learn about compositional controls like line, shape, form etc. Learn about artists in other mediums, like painters and sculptors.
Take time out to visit museums and galleries and really study those images that strike your fancy. Look at how the artist uses shadows, colors, perspective… And on and on. Listen to what the docents have to say about the artwork. Take classes and read books on the subject. If you know a great book on art that would be of interest to photographers, let us know if the comments.
The better your understanding of art, the more you’ll understand why, with two seemingly similar images, one feels more engaging and powerful. More importantly, you’ll be able to take your photography to a whole new level, producing images that are bold and engaging.