practising your composition awareness

So, as I mentioned, I went away on our familymoon and totally forgot to take a charger for my dslr and thus was stuck with a useless bunch of extra weight for our holiday! I did however pack my film camera about which I was incredibly happy about. In retrospect it is a very interesting exercise to be limited by a film camera to practise photography, particularly the composition aspect.

I thought I would share some analysis of a few of the photos I took. If you are interested in working on your own composition you can pick up a point and shoot disposable camera for a few pounds and developing can be done at Snappy Snaps.

Image One

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This is just basically all off. The point of focus I was aiming for is the family group on the bench. The framing doesn’t really draw your attention to them at all, however, and the background is distracting. Plus there are lots of elements on the edges that clutter the picture.

I could potentially have moved around and had them straight on with the less distracting and more atmospheric church, but street photography with a non-automatic focusing camera has some difficulties. Alternatively moving a bit closer might have helped (my camera has a prime lens so moving rather than zooming is the option).

Image Two

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Looking back on the images in retrospect I sometimes wonder what I was ‘thinking’ in taking the image. I think in this image I was trying to photograph the bicycle with flowers balanced with the old man smoking. However, the bike on the edge and the person with the shopping totally limit the viewers ability to focus on this balance.

Getting lower might have helped to get rid of the sign above the gentleman’s head too. And maybe a few steps to the left would have helped get the right ‘balance’.

Image Three


Can you see a pattern emerging here in where I go wrong? Cropping in camera is a handy skill. If I had ‘zoomed’ in and just got the lady and the dog I would have been happy with the picture. Half chopped off bodies are distracting!

Also, I am terrible at getting straight photos!

Okay so now I need to go out and practise some more…

Did you find this useful? Would you like to see some more ‘dissection’ posts?

8 thoughts on “practising your composition awareness

    1. I’ve never been beaten up and am generally like a spy. I also feel more confident shooting street photography with an analogue camera than digital because it feels more ‘novel’ so I don’t think people are that worried about it. Guess they think it is not something you will be sharing on the internet. Oops 😉

  1. Hi Michelle
    Yes, this is really useful. It’s so important to be aware of all the extra stuff that you perhaps don’t want in the shot, so thanks for the reminder. I’d definitely like to see more of this kind of post : ) x

    1. Glad you found it useful. So easily can get into bad habits with digital photography when you cut in post-production so useful to pull out an analogue once in a while. Will definitely work on doing more.

  2. More please! This is so super helpful – I haven’t got a clue about things like photo composition and would really love to learn more! x

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