Composition Corner

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From Promaster, America's Favorite Photo Accessory Brand

When it comes to composing an image, our eye often glosses over items that can clutter the scene or distract the viewer. For example, one of the most common issues stems from someone standing in front of something tall (such as a tree or light post) and the item looks like it’s growing out of the subject’s head. It is a fast way to ruin an otherwise interesting image.


Paul seems to have two trees growing out of his head, but a step to the left is all it takes to eliminate the distraction.

Another common issue involves image clutter, and this often occurs when there is simply too much going on in a photograph. For example an image may become cluttered because there are too many harsh lines competing for attention, such as the pattern of the power lines running across the flag in our example. They essentially mask the intended focal point and the overall impact is lost.

To combat these issues, take a few moments to study your image through the viewfinder. Adjust your angle, shift over a foot or two and play with your perspective. Move around a bit and see how different positions impact the image. Are there objects or other complications that you didn’t realize were impacting the image until you adjusted your vantage point?

You can eliminate a number of instances of composition clutter by simply making a few minor adjustments and analyzing how they impact your final photograph. We like to think of it as composing ourselves before we compose the picture.

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