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Composition joelo Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 40 W: 10 N: 37] (148)::2007-05-07 17:09
Please forgive my rant.
Just because we are photographing nature, is no reason to completely ignore the basic rules of composition. Yes, I know that we want to get in close, and a tight crop does show a little more detail, but we can over do it.

Except for the landscapes, many (if not the majority) of the photos posted here center the subject tightly in the frame with hardly any negative space aroung it. Even on the landscapes, trees or other main subjects are precisely centered, and horizons split the frame in half.

Check out The Rule of Thirds here or on the plethora of other sites where composition is discussed. There are exceptions, where centering the subject can be effective, but they are rare, and should be used sparingly.
Re: Composition SunToucher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)::2007-05-08 2:21
Joel,

Partially I agree, not all photos follow the rule of thirds. But, there is more than just this rule that you need to follow. Just google for 'golden mean' and you see that there are more rules to composition. You than might see that some photos follow a different rule.

And, rules are there to be broken, but one needs to understand a rule before one can break it.
Re: Composition joelo Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 40 W: 10 N: 37] (148)::2007-05-08 18:50
I totally agree. The reason that I selected that particulsr site is that it also has links to "Golden Ratio" ans "Diagonal Method." There are certainly many rules of composition, and they should be regarded more as guidelines than as rules.

There are always some photos that completely violate the rules and still are good compositions. However, for most photos the applying one of the rules will result in a better photo.

I invite you to try an experiment. Open the first page of the gallery. I will be very surprised if you don't find a (significant) majority of the photos with a tightly cropped subject centered in the frame. the worst offenders tend to be the flowers, with birds, butterflys, and insect macros close behind.

Even when we do understand the rules, we have a tendency to get lazy and forget to consider composition. My most recent posting Here is a perfect example. It was shot with little regard to composition, and was so tightly framed that there was little else that could be done in PP.
Re: Composition Spanishalex Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 15 W: 3 N: 10] (404)::2007-05-22 19:58
Personally I find that the rigid application of rules such as the "thirds" leads to stale photos where apply the rule becomes more important than stepping back and actually thinking about what looks good. I think the only rule is to make sure what you see through the viewfinder looks good before pressing the button.
Re: Composition pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)::2007-07-01 11:42
Hi Joel
I fully agree that we should apply the golden rules whenever it is possible. I think many people here on TN are here to learn and to get tips from the other members.
There are many many images on TN with centered main subject and almost all look far from perfect.
Just go on and make comments to each of the photographer. It is obviously something a beginner is not looking at. I am absolutely sure that people will quote your critique as usefull.
We all, and surely I am here to learn from our fellow photographers. I am most happy with real critiques on my pictures!
Thanks for your comments!
Tom
Re: Composition PamF (8)::2007-07-14 18:49
Joel,
As a painter, I completely agree. It's nice to hear good things about our photos, but to grow, we need critical input, other eyes that see our work differently. IMHO, close in cropping is a bit of a cop out. The photographer should either go so far in to create a new vision of the subject, or situate it creatively in its natural context. I'd really like to see more valid critiques of the work on TN, remembering that good critiques should always find something to improve and end with something nice.
PamF
Re: Composition Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)::2007-11-01 13:18
I would like to open this old thread because I made a bit of a comparison after some discussions with members about their (and my) individual photographs.
I posted two similar images with slightly different Points of View. The one on TrekLens was deliberately set up on the classic "Rule of Thirds" with the main subject centred on the "power point" as per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds.
The one on TrekNature was shot from a different angle so that the tree was on the left-hand intersection of the thirds line.
Allowing that points are not a valid guideline but that the "viewed" stats would be more fair (because the thumbnail has to attract in order for the image to be viewed, while points might be given for other reasons) I did a quick comparison. Both were posted on the same day and the one that was composed along the "classic" guidelines had far more views than the one set up as an opposite. Classic: 221 views in 11 days; reverse (still composed on the rule of thirds but with the tree on the opposite side): 127 views in 11 days.
Interesting, no?
Silke
Re: Composition flagman Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 351 W: 44 N: 607] (2408)::2007-11-06 4:44
Silke, your observations may just mean that one site is busier than the other.
Interesting, though, and I believe that a storong composition is the main thing that attracts people to click on a thumbnail.
Andy
Re: Composition warnzy Gold Star Critiquer [C: 163 W: 1 N: 2] (20)::2007-11-12 2:35
Hi Joel,

I agree that composition is important with any type of photography, and it is important to understand the basic rules to develop a 'feel' for what looks right. The rules are there as a guide to help use produce well balanced pictures. As we all want to produce the best pictures we can, then we should all be open to learning.

Mike
Re: Composition jpdenk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 3 N: 74] (333)::2008-02-08 12:09
Hi Joel,

I'd agree as long as we're talking about photos that are made as a personal interpretation of what we have seen (art), however, there are times when nature photos are made simply to document a species, and that has a different set of requirements. Often, when documenting a species, simply centering the subject is what gives the best results. From what I've seen, there are a lot of people here who are biologists and their photography is primarily done for exactly that reason, the rule of thirds or the golden rule are secondary. I'm kind of in the middle, many (most actually) of my photos are made to document something that I've seen, some are done with "art" in mind. I find myself increasingly paying attention to traditional composition, but I am still primarily documenting what I've seen.

John
Re: Composition Nelu_Goia Silver Star Critiquer [C: 20 W: 0 N: 0] (0)::2010-02-02 9:25
Not surprising at all...
The three sister-sites are not the same. Trekearth is by far the most active, followed by treklens and waaaay back, by treknature.
This is not a apple-to-apple comparison at all. When you post a photo on trekearth it will be on the second page in no time while here, on treknature it can still be on the first page even after a whole day.
We had a conversation before on this subject and I don`t want to repeat myself. All I want to say is that if it doesn`t look right in the eyepiece it cannot be that great on the screen. I love to learn new things about composition but in the end I go with my guts anyways.
Silke, it is a very good feeling for me to see you`re so preoccupied by composition rules because what this shows is desire to learn and share the knowledge.
Thank you and happy shooting...by the rules or not:)
Nelu
Re: Composition Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)::2010-02-02 9:35
LOL LOL LOL
Preoccupied: #

1. Absorbed in thought; engrossed.
2. Excessively concerned with something; distracted.

You are replying to a thread in which I participated 26 1/2 months ago

Who is the one who is preoccupied with the subject?

LOL
Re: Composition Nelu_Goia Silver Star Critiquer [C: 20 W: 0 N: 0] (0)::2010-02-02 11:39
"You are replying to a thread in which I participated 26 1/2 months ago"...So you changed your mind since then?:)
"Who is the one who is preoccupied with the subject?"...I guess this would be me. Is it something wrong about that?
Regretfully now I have to end my "excessively concerned" contribution to this valuable and very old post since all has been learned already.
Cheers:)
Nelu
Re: Composition jpdenk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 3 N: 74] (333)::2010-02-02 12:50
I'm well aware of the rules of composition that you mention, as I have been an avid photographer since the 1960's, but I think that composition rules often go out the window here due to the requirements of resolution, 800 pixels is quite small, so people, including me, crop more tightly than is advisable for good composition in order for the subject of the photo to be more visible. I'd like to see the resolution limit increased here, but I think it's not likely.

Thanks,
John
Re: Composition jpdenk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 3 N: 74] (333)::2010-02-02 12:53
Also, many people, including me, are mainly documenting things that they have found in nature, and are not so much trying to create works of photographic art. In that sort of photography, filling the frame with details of the subject are more important than classic composition.

John
Re: Composition SunToucher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)::2010-02-02 23:43
John,
I really don't see the relation of composition with the size of a photo. If youy crop to make the subject more visible, you could also get closer to the subject and make it visible in-camera.

Niek
Re: Composition pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)::2010-02-03 0:03
Hi John
you stated: "Also, many people, including me, are mainly documenting things that they have found in nature, and are not so much trying to create works of photographic art".
May I completely disagree. This is how I saw Nature photography in my beginnings too, BUT it is so easy to respect some very basic composition rules and still it will be a natural history document, and a so much better picture. And do you know where I learned this, in some magazines, books and HERE on TN. There is simply no excuse at all to disregard composition.
You simply get better pictures.
And I am still here for learning: about Nature and making good pictures.
have a nice day
TOM
Re: Composition jpdenk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 3 N: 74] (333)::2010-02-03 6:36
Hi Tom,

You recently said "This is how I saw Nature photography in my beginnings too, BUT it is so easy to respect some very basic composition rules and still it will be a natural history document, and a so much better picture. And do you know where I learned this, in some magazines, books and HERE on TN. There is simply no excuse at all to disregard composition.".

Hi Tom, I respectfully disagree with you. You are primarily a photographer. I, and probably many others here, are not primarily photographers, we are primarily naturalists and nature nuts. I usually use my cameras to document what I've found, that's usually my main reason for tripping the shutter. I shoot primarily plants, fungi, insects and other small things, and my main reason for taking a photo is often to document the little details for later use in identifying what I've photographed, so for me, using classic rules of composition is not so important.

I shoot photos mainly for my own use and enjoyment, so I shoot in a way that results in my photos being useful to me. I am never shooting with the idea of posting them on TrekNature or anywhere else. I shoot to please myself, not other people. If I happen to take a shot that others like, then that's great. I post photos here to share what I've seen and I'm also here to learn about nature from what other people. I don't particularly care about how many points my photos get.

That all said, I do usually try to keep the rules of composition in mind when shooting, but with my subject matter, typically using close-ups and sometimes macro work, the fine detail is often more interesting to me than classic composition, so when I post here, I crop to show as much detail as possible in the relatively small size that is required. I find that to be more interesting and more important than following the rules of composition.

If you prefer to adhere to the rules of composition, that's great, you are doing what pleases you, as you should, but we all have our own reasons for taking photos and for posting on this site. :-)

John
Re: Composition pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)::2010-02-03 7:57
Hi John
I fully agree with everything. And being a birdwatcher I also take many pictures for documentation and later identification.
Anyway the most important thing for (almost) all of us is to have fun with what we are doing, so I fully accept every single personal approach.
My personal experience with compo is that it is even easier to follow some basic rules when cropping (especially in flying birds where it is always difficult or impossible to have a perfect compo on the original image. So I am a big fan of cropping. Showing as much details as possible is also a kind of compo.
Thanks for your opinion expressed here and have a lot of fun
Tom