James D. Kountz | Composition and the art of "seeing"

Composition and the art of "seeing"

January 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

One of the first things I realized when I started on my photography journey was that I was soon going to be relieved of any and all extra cash I ever had. It seems that once you get bit by this bug there is no turning back and your bank account is forever doomed! At first I thought I could just augment my current equipment with a few key pieces and I would be all set. However after reading about certain techniques or seeing a style that I really liked I soon learned that my little "Camera Kit" wasn't going to cut it. At least that's what I told myself. I needed BIGGER and BETTER! That's the only way I'm ever going to take pictures like the ones I see in professional portfolios! So I upgraded to a big bad ass lens. Then I bought some cool flash equipment. Then I got a super sturdy tripod and ball head with fluid like motion. Yeah I did all that. And my pictures? Well they all looked the same. Nothing changed! It was soon very clear to me that I had spent a great amount of money and I had gained very little as far as capturing better photos. Oh while its true my pictures were up close and personal with my super telephoto zoom lens, and yes I was able to get stationary with my fabulous carbon fiber tripod, my pictures were still lacking one very important quality. Skilled composition. Folks, its all about composition. Anyone can memorize the settings on a camera and the other technical stuff. Well almost anyone I suppose, but it takes a certain eye, a specific way to "see" things that other people might just walk on by. Its about framing your shot in a way that looks unique and interesting. Using lines shapes and colors to define a frame and lead the viewers eye to the subject.

So here I was the proud owner of some really NICE equipment and honestly no real idea of how to use it. I didn't know about composition, not really. I thought I did but the reality is one can and probably will spend a lifetime fine tuning this skill. Some pick it up easier than others and some may never find it. I classify myself as somewhere in between. I can see somethings and I can master the settings on my camera and I can read and learn things. This I can do but sooner or later you have to start putting to use your newly acquired skills in a way that makes you different from all the rest. You become eager to make photographs that stand on their own as fine art or pictures that are in demand of potential customers. This is where composition enters the game. The proper use of composition takes a boring or mundane shot and turns it into a beautiful photo that makes people ooo and ahhh! The never ending search for better and more original composition starts to consume you. This is the lasting affect of the venom of the photography bug. There is no cure, no magical serum that will make it go away. The best I can tell you is to just embrace it and have fun! That's what I'm doing.

I know I have a very long way to go but I also know that the journey there is the absolute best part. Am I a "great" photographer? No! Am I a good one? I aspire to be. Am I having the time of my life learning all I can about this fascinating craft? You bet your life I am!

Until next time!

Jimmy Old Houses-1486Old Houses-1486

 

 


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