Perceptive Photographer #26: Rules of composition in photography

Written by Daniel Gregory

I am a Whidbey Island, Wa based fine-art photographer and photographic educator. I am a core faculty member of the Photographic Center Northwest, as well as an instructor for CreateLive and KeblyOne . I also regularly presents at regional and national conferences. I also the host of the weekly podcast The Perceptive Photographer which focuses on the challenges and day-to-day aspects of living as a photographer.

September 7, 2015

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In this podcast, we focus on the nature of content and form as the essential aspects of composition. In most great photography, composition acts as more of an intuitive process behind the camera rather than the direct application of a series of rules or guidelines that are normally taught in photographic classes. Idea such as rule of thirds, leading lines, mirrored objects are all ways to explain and understand works of art, but in photography they are concepts that should be discussed more in the analysis of the image rather than the creation.

By shifting our focus away from trying to implement these rules and instead focusing on when content and form collide in the pressing of the shutter, we are able to be more present behind the camera. During our review of our work, we can then apply these concepts to help us better understand why we might be more drawn to the strength of a given photography over another. Finally, we talk about how constantly making small adjustments with each shot can lead to more interesting work and strong photographs.

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