The Importance of Composition

Greg Laswell at the State Room singing “Landline” unplugged. 

There are several factors that go into producing great imagery, but some of the most elementary photo lessons, such as the “Rule of Thirds” or leading lines, remain invaluable. One question I ask myself before I even click the shutter is, “How am I leading the reader’s eye to the subject?” Most often it will be because of the composition or how the light falls on a scene. In the photo above, Greg is obviously the main subject. He’s the front man, on stage, with a guitar in his hands. What makes this photo engaging is the composition. Technically, this photo is subpar. It’s noisy (high ISO), a bit fuzzy, and not in the best light. But what it lacks technically, it makes up for in composition and emotion. It captures a moment: the audience listening intently, trying to catch a photo of the man on stage, and Greg, humbly playing his acoustic guitar, unplugged. You can’t always get the perfect light, or the perfect moment. If you go into a situation trying to capture something that just isn’t there, use other tools in your bag. Reach for the fundamentals. Putting all your eggs in one basket is constraining. Have a back up plan. Adapt to your surroundings and you’ll come home with winning imagery.

Using the “Rule of Thirds” and leading lines.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Do you think this image works? Does the composition or moment make up for the lack of technical details?

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