Good Light + Good Composition + Good Subject = A Nice Photograph

Here's my favorite image (so far) from the California Photo Festival.

Tonight I took a group of dedicated photographers on a street walk. The focus of the walk was composition and lighting. We found both, plus a great subject – my good friend and wonderful photographer Lee Varis.

I took this shot with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-105mm lens (my favorite street lens) and my brand new Really Right Stuff tripod and ball head. ISO was 6400, which say a lot about the image sensor in the camera.

To learn about lighting, see my lighting class on Kelby Training.

To learn about composition, see my composition class on Kelby Training.

Explore the light,

Most Popular Posts

Hey Gang -

I am taking a few days off from posting. Until I return, here are the most poplar posts for the past two weeks. Enjoy.

Composition: The Strongest Way of Seeing, or Crop My Pictures and You Are a Dead Man!

Edward Weston said: Composition is the strongest way of seeing.

I love that quote . . . and it's the title of my latest Kelby Training Class.

The photographs here, taken in Iceland two weeks ago, illustrate some important composition techniques.

Above: use a foreground element to place the viewer in the scene.

Above: The name of the game is to fill the frame.

Above: Crop my pictures and you are a dead man! Actually, that's my own quote . . . one that I used to use (lovingly) with my book publishers.

I am a nut about cropping. I shot this picture knowing that I'd crop off the boring top and bottom in Photoshop.

Be a nut about cropping, and you will get pictures with impact.

Again, for more info in composition, check out my Composition class. My Composition class goes hand-in-hand with my class on lighting: Light - the main element in every photograph.

To learn more about composition, join one of my workshops. We work hard, but we also have a ton of fun.

Explore the light,

P.S. All images: Canon 5D Mark III, in-camera HDR and Canon 17-40mm lens. All my gear is listed on my Gear page.

Compose and Expose Carefully

What do the above and below photographs have in common?

Both photographs were composed and exposed carefully.

When you think about it, photography is all about getting a well-composed and creatively exposed image. Master those techniques, and you are on your way to mastering photography.

I know, I know! A good subject is important, too. :-)

Actually, those two elements - lighting and composition - are important in painting, too - as illustrated my Vermeer's "Girl with the Pearl Earring" painting (left), and my humble rendition of the masterpiece on the right.

In my workshops, I focus on those topics. If you can't make a workshop, I have two classes on Kelby Training that I think you will enjoy:

Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

Light - the main element in every photograph.

Quick composition tip: stick out your neck and break the so-called rules.

Quick lighting tip: Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

As always . . . .

Explore the light,

Photographers Need to Be "Nearsighted" and "Farsighted"

© Rick Sammon
Composition is the strongest way of seeing.

When we see and compose our pictures, we need to be both "nearsighted" and "farsighted" – paying close attention to the foreground and background elements in a scene (and, of course, everything in between).

In the above photograph, the near element adds to the sense of depth of the image. In the photograph below, the far element adds an extra sense of interest to the photograph.

© Rick Sammon
Both photographs illustrate careful and creative composition.

For more on composition, see my Kelby Training class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

You'll also notice the great depth of field in both images, taken with my Canon 24-105nm IS lens on my Canon 5D Mark III.

For max depth of field:
- use a wide-angle lens
- set a small aperture
- focus 1/3 into the scene.

I teach creative composition on all my workshops. I hope you can join the creative fun.

I also teach how to see the light - which I discuss in several of my apps.

Explore the light,

I created these black and white images in Nik Silver Efex Pro - one of the creative plug-ins I use.