© Penny Robartes - Wild Eye

The Art of Composition

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny Leave a Comment

One cannot put too much emphasis on composition. Simply put, it is the underlying element to all great works of art.

While mastering and understanding your technical settings is important in order to create a certain shot and sharpness to your images, implementing one or more compositional elements within your frame can make your image so much more stronger than one that is just technically good.

Composition in itself encompasses many aspects that you can incorporate into your frame or use to further emphasise your story or feeling that you want to convey.

© Penny Robartes - Wild Eye

What captured my attention in this scene was this singular buffalo that was slightly separated from the rest of the herd and further into the waterhole. The reflections from the tree created patterns over the water broke up what would for me, be a pretty average image into one that was more dynamic and created depth within the frame. It also suggested that there was more ‘out there’ than what this simple frame communicated.

By placing this lone buffalo on the upper right-hand side of my frame, I enabled the buffalo to ‘look’ and potentially ‘move into the space that it was looking into. This position also allowed me to focus solely on the buffalo and not include other aspects of the scene which would take my attention away from him – such as the tree and surrounding buffalo.

Subconsciously our eyes will follow lines and be guided by them from one part of the frame to another. By including more of the trees’ reflections that stretched behind, to the side and in front of the buffalo, it emphasised the lines that become more dense around the buffalo. The viewers eyes are then guided through the image and continuously brought back to the core focus of my image – the buffalo.

There is so much more to composition than what I touched on. By just being aware of the placement of my subject within the frame, I was able to include and exclude objects within my frame and make my story just that much stronger.

Next time you are out in the field, pay attention to the many compositional tools you can use to create a stronger image. Even if it is just as simple as where you place your subject within the frame.

Keep passionate and keep shooting!

About the Author

Gerry van der Walt

I am a private and specialist photographic safari guide, public speaker, co founder of Wild Eye and wildlife photographer. Visit my website at www.gerryvanderwalt.com or follow my journey on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope.  I look forward to changing the way you see the world! Have you checked out The Wildlife Photography Podcast?

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