Tag Archives: Better Photography

#3 My Creation – Some notes on composition

There is a plethora of information available on the Internet but knowledge of something is different. For me, knowledge is the kind of education that you can make use of in actual day to day life. So here I am, compiling some information hoping to convert it into knowledge for myself and maybe for the rest of the world!

Few pointers that make a good composition:

1. Grouping

2. Balance

3. Ratio/ Proportion (one of the best things I learnt today!)

4. Rule of thirds

5. Lines and curves

6. Figure and ground

7. Harmony and contrast

8. Light (soft light and hard light)

9. Colour

On reading all these articles, (if someone is passionate enough to do so) you will understand that there is a lot going through the DoP’s head before he even presses the record button. Does he carry a book with him referring to every tiny detail? Not anyone I know of. This is the homework one often does subconsciously. At first you might have to try hard, push yourself looking at one frame for hours before you decode it. Later on it becomes a part of your daily life.

As we move forward in time, most of our functions as a cinematographer will be submerged under the term automatic. I feel there is nothing wrong in putting your camera on P mode when you doubt your exposure settings. Ultimately, the results matter. However, I feel it is very less likely that a camera will be able to compose a shot as well as we can. You may be using a cell phone or a DSLR or a cinema camera, if you don’t make use of your frame, you will end up with an average looking image.

So if you don’t have a camera and you still want to be a DoP or even a better photographer, try this: cut a 4 inches by 3 inches rectangle in a cardboard and start ‘framing’ the world around you. When you have a limit to your field, you will understand how a simple change in your position can make the frame look better. I feel at every level, a visual artist should carry out this exercise.