Composition : How a Shooter’s Position Affects the Image

Photographic composition, in a simple statement, can be described as arranging (in the viewfinder) the different elements of an image so that they combine an aesthetically pleasing and balanced arrangement for the whole of the image.

Composition is often a subjective process but there some ‘rules’ that one should follow.  I hope to present and demonstrate some of these rules over time.

At this time, let’s take a look at position.  This is not the position of the subject since there are a) many subjects that cannot be moved and, in many cases, b) the whole of the image involves more than just the subject.  We are talking about the position of the photographer.

I was going through my shots of Princess Louise Falls, from which I took the shot for Princess Louise Falls, and found what I think are some good examples of how one’s position and angle of view of the subject affect the composition of a shot.

The following image was taken as I approached the waterfall.  There are a lot of elements here and I found that it didn’t capture what I was after.  There are a lot of distracting elements here and essentially sets my intended subject as secondary.  Besides, I really didn’t want graffiti in my image.

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I then took the a series of images from which I got the one for my original post.  I got right there at the bottom of the waterfall, only about 3 meters away as close as I could get for a front-on view with out getting wet.

I found that having foreground interest as well as opposing leading lines in the form of the fallen tree trunks added interest to the shot.

Princess Louise Falls

Princess Louise Falls

I then moved a little closer and to the right-hand side to take some from a completely different angle.   While this is a decent image and not one to throw away, I found that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  It didn’t quite have the impact of the previous shot.

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Finally, I went right up to the waterfall on the side and took even closer shots.  The rocks were very slippery here and I had to be careful not to fall in.   This provided a unique view of the waterfall from the perspective of looking under the fallen tree.

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I hope that this helps to demonstrate how one’s position affects the composition of the image and the overall effect of the photograph.

It’s not enough to just ‘take’ the picture.  One must ‘make’ the picture by managing the composition.