Composition II: The Viewfinder with Marcin Lewandowski
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Composition II: The Viewfinder with Marcin Lewandowski

October 22, 2019

Welcome, you’re watching AdoramaTV my name is Marcin Lewandowski and in this episode of The Viewfinder I would like to follow up on the episode from a few weeks ago and talk to you about composition and explain some moves, to help you build some interesting photographs. In a previous episode of this mini-series, I briefly introduced you to the Rule of Thirds and its variation, the Phi Grid. I left some things open-ended and so I would like to expand on them a little bit. Remember that embedding these rules into your workflow doesn’t mean that they must always be observed. It also means that these rules can in fact be bent. First of all, treat these as guidelines and practice them when photographing. The more you use them, the more flexible they will seem. Look at the crossing lines of the Rule of Thirds grid like a visual guide to help build structure. Sometimes placing elements of interest on this crossing will seem too obvious, or even forced and you need to develop a feel for when to shift things around. Either closer to the edge, or closer to the center. The best way to do this, naturally, is to practice. I would also suggest looking at classic photographs in various genres; Ansel Adams in landscape and Henri Cartier-Bresson in everything else for starters. It’s a very narrow choice, I know, but one has to start somewhere. They represent very different schools of thought while at the same time being masters of their respective genres, when it comes to aesthetics. One of the reasons to use Rule of Thirds is to obtain a sense of balance in the photograph but there are other equally important things to consider. Simplicity, cleanliness, minimalism, whatever we want to call it, it is a way to draw attention to our subjects as well. If we keep the Rule of Thirds in mind but we have a cluttered surrounding then our effort is futile. A good way of learning how to photograph less is to play around with negative space. Meaning, in terms of photography: empty, black, featureless. In principle at least. Start with placing your subject somewhere between the edge of the photograph and the grid line to see how that automatically draws the viewers’ eyes to the point you intended to draw them to. Now try the same with the Phi Grid instead of the Rule of Thirds and see how that changes how you see the image. The main reason I’m mentioning all of this is that, once you try applying these rules over and over again in all sorts of different scenarios, from a friend’s wedding, to still life, to street photography, you will subconsciously see your photographs in a different way, even before you take them and you will enjoy the process of photography even more, producing richer results. Thanks for watching this episode. Subscribe to our channel for more and check out the Adorama Learning Center for some helpful tips and tutorials. This was Marcin Lewandowski for AdoramaTV. See you next time.

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  1. Awesome video Marcin! Great quality. And above all excellent display of mastering the technical part of photography

  2. I would really like to see the grid lines superimposed on the Photographs while you are engaged in your commentary. I would be more certain of the point that you are making. This is just subjective on my part and by no means am I trying to tell you how to do your job, which by the way is excellent.

  3. Como siempre, excelentes y bien atinados consejos, pulgares arriba. Peor creo que más que consejos, para mí, es un gran tesoro, invaluable por la calidad de sus pensamientos, es un gran apoyo para todos los fotgógrafos. Claro, quienes; como yo, deseamos mejorar la calidad de nuestros trabajos. Saludos y bendiciones desde México.

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