keep it simple


What makes or breaks a photo? What is it that makes us stop and look at a photo and not another?

That is what distinguishes a good photographer from a common man in the street. That’s why one sells his work and why the other one buys it. It has to do with being in the right place at the right time with the right gear, but it mostly has to do with composition of the image. It’s learning to translate what the eye sees into what will work on paper (or screen or whatever medium we choose to use). For example, let’s say a group of people are on holiday together and they all have a camera. It’s funny, but once you get home you see that everyone has different photos. Everyone sees things in different ways and everyone records them in as many different ways.

Composition sounds so complicated when you start to venture in photography. There is the rule of thirds, odds are better then even, s-shape compositions, making use of lead-in lines, using red or even the lack of colour like black and white.  Then there are things that must be avoided like cutting limbs, dark objects that are not recognizable at the borders, bright white objects away from the subject, placing people in line like football teams,  people looking out of the photo, tilted horizons in landscapes…it’s a neverending list of dos and don’ts.

Then someone comes along and tells you to “look out side of the box”, break the rules because that is how things work best. Well I have always been good at breaking all the rules in the world but once you learn composition it is slightly difficult to break away from them. What I have learned, though, is that keeping things simple works best. It’s like the minimalistic in photography.

Simplicity in colour

Simplicity in comic relrief

One Comment Add yours

  1. Steve says:

    That’s a million dollar question and I think there’s no single correct answer to it. Rules should be first learnt then challenged. One thing I can’t stand is people criticising by quoting rules. I’ve seen cropped limbs, slanting horizons and people looking out of the frame all made to work beautifully even in the same photo. (for a famous example google ‘winogrand worlds fair’)
    I find that the best way to learn is to look at photos over and over, I mean Masters (Cartier Bresson, Kertesz, Erwitt) not Flickr, and obviously go out and shoot, shoot, shoot.

    BTW great blog George, keep up the good work

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