Composition changes from small position changes

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mikepro, May 7, 2015.

  1. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    So, in the picture of the day thread I posted a picture from Arches National park that got some comments as to if the picture would be bettwr with the branch in or out. That got me interested in continuing the conversation in a new thread.

    One of the things I was exploring in that shoot was how fairly small changes in positioning or zoom could really alter the feel of the picture. I was also experimenting with putting different elements in the foreground and seeing how that affected the overall picture, altered the focus, etc.

    So, here's 5 pictures. I'd be curious to hear your comments on them, which compositions you like/don't like, what's not working, etc.
    (Forgive any contrast/exposure differences. I haven't edited them much, and Google does some weird enhancements)

    Thanks for playing!

    Picture 1

    Picture 2

    Picture 3

    Picture 4

    Picture 5

    Thanks for playing!
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Somewhere between 3 and 5. Overall I like 5 and would just take it a little wider so as to not clip the tree.
  3. I7guy macrumors P6


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    I like this experiment; playing around with composition.

    For whatever it’s worth:

    1. Even though the rock in the center is large there is a bush in the foreground that I think detracts.
    2. Seems cluttered.
    3. Is cool. The leafless tree is in stark contrast to the large rock.
    4. The small rock is too close to the edge and nothing really grabs my attention.
    5. The tree being cut-off doesn’t really add anything.

    I like #3.
  4. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    OK, here's my opinion and it is just that.

    1. Seems flat with the bush in front throws it off, is it a picture of the rock or the bush?
    2. A bit too busy in the bottom left throws balance off
    3. Tighter cropping is lessening the effect of the busy lower left and is bringing the rock to more prominence.
    4. This is a picture of the wood and the bush with a rock behind it.
    5. This would be near perfect if it were taken 2 steps forward and 20 degrees to the left.

    So my fave would be 3.
  5. DevNull0 macrumors 68000

    Jan 6, 2015
    1, probably the best one, but the horizon is just annoying, I'd try moving it up to about 2/3rd of the frame. The overall composition is pretty bland though.

    2 and 3, there's nothing to draw the eye. You have 2 big subjects off-centre on either side and it's really a picture of nothing.

    4 and 5, the clipped object at the edge destroys the flow of the picture.
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    This set has a clear ‘subject’/primary point of visual interest in the large, isolated rock formation. That’s a great start. What each photo lacks is a good sense of flow, a clear path for the eye to follow through the frame. You have a decent leading line in that bright log in the foreground of pictures 4 and 5, but it leads smack into a big bush that blocks the flow. It’s a nice bush that adds some contrasting tones and textures, but its positioning is unfortunate.
  7. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    2 and 4 for me.

    I'm big on centre framing a la instagram and classic 120 film.

    Cropping out objects also is a bit funny for me.
  8. mikepro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Thanks for all the opinions, very interesting to see everyone's take!

    Personally, I like #3, but wish the busy stick bush in the lower left corner was gone. That's too distracting for me. #5 was my attempt to get that out of the frame, but just couldn't do it and keep that drift wood looking tree on the left all in the frame.

    I like #4 probably the best, with the driftwood acting as a leading line to the hole in the rock in the distance, but sure wish that bush wasn't in the way. It seemed like it might add interest when shooting, because it was some contrast. But in the end, I think it's too busy. I think I also messed the focus/depth of field up a bit, as that bush is more in focus, and the rocks in back are soft.

    So, 4 and 3 are my favorites, but I'm not fully happy with any of them. But it was a very cool place to hike, and I had a real interesting looking at the scene and trying different positions/compositions to see how they affected the overall result.

    I find this is something I really need to work on, as I'm often too quick to take the picture, without really stopping and thinking, planning the shot. I need to really practice "seeing" and moving around terrain to get the optimal result.

    I also think it helps to have a plan, which I often don't. I just want to go out some place interesting and see what develops. In this case, I was on a work trip, and we got into town a few hours earlier than expected, so decided to go hiking in the park. I wish I could have gone back and re-visited some of these areas for a second chance after seeing what worked/what didn't.

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