May is here and I thought
It’s surprising how many different tricks there are to make your photographs more interesting. I thought that an overview of some basic composition concepts might allow you to start practising fast. The following seem to pop up on most photographic sites.
What is Photographic Composition?
“Composition? I just point my camera, the pictures come out OK, right?” is what many people say.
Yes, pointing works some of the time but if you want an image to touch hearts, make people go wow, or admire its beauty, you need to think like a photographer. Think composition until it becomes part of your picture taking mindset as you learn how to compose cat photographs with increasing skill.
The term composition means ‘putting together’ and can apply to any work of art, from music to writing to photography, that is arranged using conscious thought.Wikipedia
You will have come across some of these ideas before. Maybe in an art class, or online creative tutorial. The fancy name of the first one, when you look at it, very simple.
Rule of Thirds
Your image is divided into nine blocks or columns and lines of threes. Where these blocks meet are the sweet spots for appealing pictures. You don’t need to be a slave to the Rule, but it’s a good guide to work for everyone.
The lines don’t just point to good spots to position your cat, they also help you balance your composition. Here’s an example. Had Salem the black cat been in the centre of the fame I would have lost the ‘leading line’ of chairs going towards the back of the cafe.
Points of interest placed in these intersections help your photo become more balanced. It creates more tension, energy and interest.ExpertPhotography.com
Fill The Frame
The frame means the edge of your photograph. Filling it means getting really close to your cat. You can do this by zooming with a DSLR, a point and shoot or a smartphone digital zoom. Or you can point your camera close to your cat’s nose. And, yes with some laid back breeds this will work.
Filling the frame can transform a good photograph into a Cat Writers Association Certificate Winner like Sweet Purrfections. Taken with an iPhone the camera focuses on the gorgeous Persian face and removes any risk of background distractions.
Don’t Cut off Your Cat’s Ears
This is so easy to do. You think your picture is carefully framed then this happens. Phoebe was not happy to be the victim of such a disaster from her favourite pet photographer.
Instead of zooming in with my lens, I tried physically to get a bit closer to take the portrait. As you can see I got too close and her ear tips have disappeared. Maybe she sense it, from that suspicious look.
In contrast, this picture of Sparkle the tortie is much better and, even though it ignores the Rule of Thirds, it is sharp and clear and has two ears.
Depth of Field
or Keep Your Background Tidy!
I covered Depth of Field
Sparkle’s picture is untouched. I know it can be improved with some sharpening and lightening but take a look at the background. It is
I zoomed in as much as I could and left the rest to AV mode because I had just a moment to take the picture. Manual is still a way off for many newbies and comes with experience,
Always give your camera modes a try – they might surprise you especially as a newbie.
If you are worried about adjusting camera settings and composing pictures at the same time, set your camera to AUTO or another favourite pre-set like AV mode. Then you can concentrate on framing your picture and composing a shot without worry. Incorporate adjustments to settings when you feel more confident.
As I take lots of closer cat pictures I leave my camera in Av mode but this next picture is not composed and definitely does not have not in the right settings.
It is still a really fun picture because Miranda was leaping a gap nearly 2.5 metres or 8 feet wide. She also jumps with all four paws. Some of our family cats leap from their strong back legs and reach forward which looks different.
Do you have a composition victory to share? Does the Rule of Thirds baffle you when you work out how to compose cat p
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