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Want Pointers Novice wanting opinions about composition

herne

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Hi all, first post here and and a complete novice so I'd be grateful for some input.

As the title suggests, I'm beginning to consider composition. With this in mind, I went for a little walk earlier with just my iPhone for company and started snapping away. I wasn't considering light or even focus really, just the composition of the pictures. To be honest I wasn't really happy with any of the pictures when I got home, but all part of experimenting and learning which is my main objective. Below is perhaps the pick of a bad bunch, so my question is how would you frame the shot?

For reference the picture is taken facing east on the north coast of Kent UK in full afternoon sunshine. I'm wanting to have the ruined church with the twin towers as the main subject, which it kind of is, but there are many elements I'm not happy with such as where the horizon is positioned and too much sky. The angle feels off as well, perhaps better taken from the beach below, as I'm standing on top of a cliff?

(By the way I hope I've inserted the picture correctly, haven't done it before).

Thanks.

eEfan5c2QkOtkYFnGZ7lWg.jpg
 

Minor Problem

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Hi Herne,

Welcome to the forum.

For a start you have got a nice level horizon which is often overlooked.

The pathway does help to act as a lead into the composition but the main subject is much too small in the frame with too much dead space around it in my opinion. If there had been a really interesting foreground then it would have made a decent background but as the only real subject it isn't prominent enough.

I like the proportion of sky as the foreground isn't strong enough to warrant more attention.
 

herne

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Thanks for the reply and I totally agree the main subject is too small. It's not clear in the picture but directly in front of it is a car park which with distance is lost (good) but then makes the subject too small (bad). Getting closer just brings the car park into focus so I need to find a different angle, such as perhaps from the beach looking up. Maybe some gentle waves from the shoreline will add some interest too. Fun to try out :).
 

David_MC

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Getting closer and getting down lower might have hidden the parking lot. Otherwise, the composition isn't bad.
 

gaelldew

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Agree with the others Herne, dont be shy about taking the Sony out with you I think you could have got a better shot with either of the lenses you have.
 

herne

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Thanks for the advice all, it really is appreciated.

I'll be heading back to that location again soon when there's some better light - this time with my camera - so will post a further shot or two then with some further composition experiments.
 

herne

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Thought I'd do a follow up.

I went back to the same location but this time down to the beach for a different angle and just before sunset...

DSC05827.jpg

It's a better perspective I think but that car park...

Anyway, I then decided to turn the camera round. Apart from a slight crop to straighten up horizons, these are untouched:

DSC05831.jpg

DSC05847.jpg

DSC05856.jpg

Not exactly award winners but the biggest learning point for me here is to look around rather than focus on just one thing.
 

gaelldew

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Just a quick and dirty edit in Photoshop.
Quick-edit.jpg
 

cbarnard7

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Good start! I agree with the above comments. Especially when starting out, it's easy to want to get everything into the frame. But, no matter how large your sensor is, or how wide your lens is, you will never do the actual scene justice compared to being there (that's the beauty about experiencing it, in real life). In my own photos, I work on identifying the source of what brings me happiness/uniqueness and make that the main subject. Your brain will fill in the rest when you look at it again.

Everyone has their own versions, but mine would be something like this crop:

eEfan5c2QkOtkYFnGZ7lWg.jpg
 

herne

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Good start! I agree with the above comments. Especially when starting out, it's easy to want to get everything into the frame. But, no matter how large your sensor is, or how wide your lens is, you will never do the actual scene justice compared to being there (that's the beauty about experiencing it, in real life). In my own photos, I work on identifying the source of what brings me happiness/uniqueness and make that the main subject. Your brain will fill in the rest when you look at it again.

Everyone has their own versions, but mine would be something like this crop:

View attachment 314197
Thanks :) . "It's easy to want to get everything into the frame" I think is key here. A lifetime spent of no real thought beyond point and click to create a memory can be a hard habit to break. Of course there will be occasions that I'll still want to take a picture like that, but what I'm starting out on here is to give things more time - to compose myself and the scene - and to understand that less can sometimes be more. I'm finding it completely fascinating.
 

Isac

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Although it's not essential, using the "Rule of Thirds" is a good way to get some balance in your images. It just means that you should try to place your main subjects on the two vertical and/or horizontal lines. You seem to have this OK in your image. Although not compulsory, if you can, have the subjects on the left of the image. It's just a thing that we look at photos from left to right the same as we do when reading. It's the way our brains have been trained. Like I said, not a rule, but worth thinking about. I flipped your image just to compare, but also think about it when positioning for your shot. PS you have some serious dust bunnies in the image.
DSC05827-E.jpg
 

herne

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Although it's not essential, using the "Rule of Thirds" is a good way to get some balance in your images. It just means that you should try to place your main subjects on the two vertical and/or horizontal lines. You seem to have this OK in your image. Although not compulsory, if you can, have the subjects on the left of the image. It's just a thing that we look at photos from left to right the same as we do when reading. It's the way our brains have been trained. Like I said, not a rule, but worth thinking about. I flipped your image just to compare, but also think about it when positioning for your shot. PS you have some serious dust bunnies in the image.
Thanks for the feedback. The rule of thirds is something I'm starting to pay attention to, but interesting observation about the subject being to the left.

By dust bunnies do you mean the sensor / lens could do with a good clean?
 

Isac

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By dust bunnies do you mean the sensor / lens could do with a good clean?
Most likely on the sensor. Take a photo of a light coloured wall, manual mode, smallest aperture and out of focus. When you view the image on screen you will see the dust spots clearly. In the photo showing the rule of thirds, they are more visible in the top left corner. Here are some I found in your original image.
DSC05827-A-E.jpg
 

herne

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Most likely on the sensor. Take a photo of a light coloured wall, manual mode, smallest aperture and out of focus. When you view the image on screen you will see the dust spots clearly. In the photo showing the rule of thirds, they are more visible in the top left corner. Here are some I found in your original image.
View attachment 314223
Thanks, I'll get onto that.
 

Southern Gent

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Most points covered by above comments. For novice or even the more experienced, if you can get your hands on any of John Hedgcoe's books, they are written in an easy to understand manner, and will give you a solid knowledge to start. Here's one I'd recommend starting with https://www.amazon.com/dp/1855859130/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

For strictly composition this is a detailed resource https://www.amazon.com/Photographer...ocphy=9012738&hvtargid=pla-500214836552&psc=1 like Hedgcoe's books you can find used ones at very economical prices. Unlike Hedgecoe, Freeman does a fantastic job covering all aspects of composition, but his writing style makes it hard to stay on track. Maybe it's because of the details he covers, in any case it's well worth the time.
 
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