Today’s lesson and assignment is going to cover composition. Don’t panic, no discussion of the rule of thirds or leading lines. Composition can be a touchy subject; some swear by it and others find it constrictive. This week’s lesson isn’t about “teaching” you composition; it’s about revealing what you personally find compositionally-pleasing (which is WAY more fun). Soon, you will have your own set of “rules” to do whatever you want with!
I came across this assignment at Petteri’s Pontifications and thought it was perfect for this week!
Grab the most basic camera you own (doesn’t have to be digital, but if you want to share your images with the group, I would recommend it). If you have a point and shoot, PERFECT! If you have an slr, put on your most basic lens (35-50mm is ideal) and set it to auto. For all you photo geeks out there that insist on controlling things, try to keep it to the ISO and white balance.
Now go for a walk. You can walk to work, the bus stop, the park, store, walk around the mall, school, campus, etc. No time for a walk? Just keep your camera on you throughout the day. Start taking photos; the key here is not to “look for photos.” Just take images of things that catch your eye. Petteri calls these “grab shots.” Forget about all things you think you know about composition. Heck, don’t even worry about focus. Basically, you are going to snap a super-quick photo of anything that catches your eye and move on. I’d say take a minimum of 40-50 photos (but there is no limit – the more the better).
The next step is to look through your images and find five that you like the most and five that you think are total crap (excluding ones that are super technically flawed). Don’t be shy here; load them up to our ModCloth Photo School Flickr page and start to discuss the elements that you think made some images more successful than others. What were others lacking that made them fail? Soon you will start to recognize repeating trends in your photography that keep things interesting, and before you know it, you will have your own set of “composition rules.”
Still daydreaming about the rule of thirds or figure ground juxtaposition?? You can begin your journey into the world of rules here.