Photography 101 Part 2
Now that you are beginning to understand how your camera
works you can begin to understand basic composition. I know
that many people that I’ve talked to think that photography
is just pointing your camera and taking a photo but it’s
more than that. After you understand how your equipment
works you can begin to get into the real art of photography
and that art is called composition.
1. Use all of your available space. Fill the image with
the image. If the reason that your taking the photo is your
daughter’s beautiful face then get closer. If you’re taking
an image of the breathtaking valley before you. Fill the
frame with the valley. Keep distractions out of the frame.
They’re called distractions for a reason.
2. Look at the forms in your image. You almost have to
look at the people or the landscape before you in their
simplistic geographic forms. A good way to learn form is to
practice taking photos of still life objects, that you can
arrange into pleasing forms. A good photo is always a
beautiful arrangement of form. Whether it’s the beauty of a
woman’s face, her features being forms, or a wonderful
landscape, trees, rocks, and hills being forms.
3. Line or direction, motion. The direction of the forms
in your photos is very important. Never have action or
motion moving outside of your image. It will direct the eye
away from your image. Diagonal motion lines are good,
curves and “s” curves are better. The last two is probably
way landscape photography is so popular nature is full of
curves. Also never put a horizon line in the center of your
4. Contrast, the difference between black and white. Now
it is possible to have a beautiful photo with little
contrast if that is your intention, this works best with
color. But a lot of shots, some really beautiful shots have
a nice balance of black, white, and grays. This can be
manipulated for artistic purpose of course, but in the
beginning you want to focus on trying to take shots with
equal amounts of black, white, and shades of gray. (Shoot a
roll of B&W film to really learn this principle.)
5. Color, you may have to familiarize yourself with the
color wheel. (See my article Graphic Design Using Color for
more information it’s for graphic design but the first
couple of paragraphs talk about basic color theory) Whether
you’re shooting nature or setting up your own shots in a
studio you need to know what colors go together and why.
Many of us have an instinct as to what looks good. When in
doubt follow your instincts. Start out by taking shots of
things that you think have pretty or beautiful colors. Show
the photos to others and see if they agree. Photographers
learn not only what they think is beautiful but what is
universally beautiful as well.
Now the hard part practice all these principles at the
same time. It’s not easy! Now you really know why
photographers take years to really learn their craft.
This week’s assignment: Let’s break this down into four
assignments. You’ll need four rolls of film. Roll one, fill
your available space. Shoot pictures of whatever you like,
but get closer. Eliminate distractions from your image.
Keep the focus of your image on whatever it was that made
you want to take that photo. Roll two, forms. Here’s an old
stand by that I did in college. Get out an assortment of
vegtables and fruit from your kitchen. Put a sheet down on
your table, no distractions, shoot an entire roll of the
veggies and fruit making sure that your rearrange with each
shot. Make sure you study your results and see which forms
looked best. Roll three, Contrast, you can do this in
B&W film if you want to. Take a shot of the flower in
your garden in the early morning, afternoon, and sunset.
Shoot some portraits at the same times, by candlelight too.
When you see the results you will be surprised. Roll four,
color. Use the vegtables again, this time paying attention
to the colors. If you can tell me why a red tomato looks
best on a green bed of lettuce or the orange sunset with
the purple clouds is so captivating then you’ve figured out
some of color theory.
If you have some specific questions please visit my
Photography Forum at:
and post your question there.
Copyright 2004 Kelly Paal
Kelly Paal is a Freelance Nature and Landscape
Photographer, exhibiting nationally and internationally.
Recently she started her own business Kelly Paal
Photography (www.kellypaalphotography.com). She has an
educational background in photography, business, and
commercial art. She enjoys applying graphic design and
photography principles to her web design.
- Photo Lessons
- Photography:The Basics
- Photo Portfolio
- Underwater Photography
- Freelance Photography
- Wedding Photography
- Landscape Photography
- Future in Photography?
- Digital Camera
- How Digital Camera works
- Shutter Speed 5 tips
- Flower Photography
- How to Buy a Digital Camera
- Light and Depth of Field
- Macro Mode
- Photography 101 Part 1
- Photography 101 Part 2
- Photography 101 Part 3
- Black and White Film
- Images to your Computer
- Birthday Photo tips
- Share your Photos
- How to Crop Photos
- Fun and Profit
- Memory Cards
- Reduce Red EYE
- Right Digital camera
- Photo Calendars
- File Formats
- Tips for taking great photos
- Exposure Compensation
- Selling Stock Photography
- Digital vs Optical Zoom
- Preparing your Photos
- Photography Poses
- Wedding Photos
- Night Photography
- Shooting Fireworks
- Philippine Online Photo Gallery