Some Thoughts on Composition…

Here’s a photo I took this past weekend while in NYC visiting some friends…

This photo IS big enough for the both of us...

This photo IS big enough for the both of us...

I really like this photo.  Granted, I did take it, but compositionally, as well.

Here’s why I like it:

1. Rule of Thirds.  The rule of thirds isn’t a rule so much, as it is a guideline.  Basically, the gist is that the subject of a photo shouldn’t have to be in the center of the photo.  If you drew a grid, splitting the frame into thirds, vertically and horizontally, the subject should lie somewhere along those lines, or at the intersection of those lines.  I think I could have done a little better shifting the frame to the left to align the subjects on the thirds.  But, if I did it perfect, maybe it wouldn’t be as interesting.

2. Foreground/Background.  The 2 subjects make up the Foreground (Patty) and the Background (Pat).  It adds more to the photo having the viewers eye scan the photo between the foreground and background.  Patty, being closer, in the foreground, draws more attention, while Pat, being in the background, doesn’t draw as much attention.  However, as he is looking directly at the camera, and Patty is looking away, it shifts the attention to him, creating a nice tug of war with the the viewers attention.  Also, the line from the window frame creates a nice separation of the foreground from the background.

3. Treatment. The photo isn’t a portrait.  It’s more or less a candid shot, which does well with a black&white/desaturated color treatment; reminiscent of a snapshot in time, a moment frozen and plucked from a the slideshow of my life.  This was done in post processing; adjusted curves, contrast, saturation, and cropping.

In no way am I saying that I planned any of this beforehand; but there is a beauty in unposed, candid shots.  And considering that the subjects in the photo are both my friends, it makes the photo all the more interesting for me; so it just works.  Photos don’t need to be analyzed in this way to make sense; sometimes photos just work, whether or not they follow any sort of guidelines.

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