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Old 8th July 2016
Ricoh Ricoh is offline
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How to improve your compositional skills?

Answer: Follow the guidance provided in the following article provided by PetaPixel, and go to art galleries and study the 'greats'.

And when you've done, I'd be interested to know how well it has improved your shots.

What amazes me is how Alfred Eisenstaedt could organise the frame (he used the 1.5 rectangle) on the fly - take his famous VJ shot as an example. As for the ballerinas, the organisation and placement are more likely to be under his direction.

This has to be one of the most helpful articles I've read.

http://petapixel.com/2013/04/15/the-...d-eisenstaedt/
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Old 9th July 2016
Imageryone Imageryone is offline
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Re: How to improve your compositional skills?

Thanks for this, Steve.

You might also like this a guide on how to view light

Great-Hollywood...Photographers-1925-1940/.../03944286...
John Kobal's The Art of the Great Hollywood Portrait Photographers
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Old 9th July 2016
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Re: How to improve your compositional skills?

The PetaPixel article is good, and I agree 100% that looking and analysing paintings and drawings is every bit as useful to improve your photography as doing the same with photographs. I have an Arts Card, which gives often a 50% reduction on gallery and museum entry in the UK, including for many special exhibitions, and I think it's one of the best investments I have ever made.

I would add one vital point, though, which is that Eisenstadt and all other eminent photographers choose their images from a lot they took at each event, and most of them crop those images. I don't believe the Sinister Diagonal was even at the back of his mind at the time, or that he took only one shot at the time, but I bet he chose carefully and wisely in the darkroom later!

Sometimes they have been lucky and a single, entire frame is perfect, but that is rare.

As evidence, I very strongly encourage everyone to look at (and buy, since it's often available on Amazon for under 30 quid on Prime and under 20 quid s/h) 'Magnum Contact Sheets'. This is the most fantastic value as a resource for learning how expert, professional documentary photographers chose among, and cropped, images that they have taken:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magnum-Cont.../dp/050054431X

This is a critical photography skill, which I don't see mentioned in the PetaPixel article.
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Old 9th July 2016
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Re: How to improve your compositional skills?

Thanks Imageryone and Mark for the links, I'll be checking these for sure!
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Old 10th July 2016
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Re: How to improve your compositional skills?

An interesting analysis of pictures

I have to say that in my opinion this is all wrong as none of the pictures actually have dominance on all of those diagonals until they put all those lines on

Yes the VJ picture has that one line in the ladies back and the sinuous curve down the leg, but from there the eye moves naturally left to the chap on the left grinning not on ay of those lines, so OMO the diagonals are artificially superimposed

The old master painting IMO has none of the imagined diagonals

What this article does say to me is if you draw enough lines some will eventually match something in your picture

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Old 10th July 2016
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Re: How to improve your compositional skills?

Interesting thoughts, Shenstone.

It's an educational article and had the author chosen to describe the process in abstract terms without the supporting photographic analysis (using Eisenstaedt's work) it would have been a greatly diminished piece of work, in my opinion.

If you read about AE (not Albert Einstein), you will learn that he studied the grand artistic masters and in so doing his subconscious mind probably took control when he aligned the camera for his own work. I feel it has to be some form of automatic process otherwise the photographic opportunity would come and go before the first diagonal and intersect had been aligned. A great picture can be destroyed if the 'form' is not constructed well, irrespective of the quality of the 'content'.

It's up to you to try it if you wish.
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