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Dash of Inspiration: Composition – Placement/Position

April 29, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Composition: Placement/Position

Let’s continue with a visual review and discussion of the areas listed in GCU’s Submission Guidelines. Today we’ll keep the series going with the fourth area in the COMPOSITION grouping of the Submission Guidelines which is:

COMPOSITION: Placement/Position

The Submission Guidelines state this:

A visual flow through the composition that the eye follows. It can be as your eyes move from element to element by way of placement and position, the placement of dark and light areas that your eyes are drawn to or the shape and lines created by a single object and its placement within the composition that draws the eyes in and out of the image. Declines may include, but are not limited to: elements which are cutoff, tilting buildings, poor angles, chaotic compositions, etc.

So let’s talk about Composition: Placement and Position

Elements which are cut off: This becomes most common when talking about cutting off hands, feet, ears, and noses of animals and people, as well as cutting off flower petals which visually are critical to the image. Artists who draw and paint don’t do this unless it’s part of their concept, in which case it always looks correct to the viewer. Photographers however, when cropping or trying to remove distractions, both during capture and just as frequently after-processing, sometimes cutoff parts of the image which give an incomplete feel to the imagery.  Look at these examples.

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Tilting Buildings: We’ve discussed this before in the blog. As a general rule of thumb, tilting buildings in a photograph used for a greeting card will be a consistent decline at GCU. Even if well-done, a tilted building on a small 5×7 card leaves the viewer feeling disoriented, it’s just not a marketable concept for the greeting card market. It doesn’t matter if the hillside is slanted and therefore so is it cottage, it’s all perspective and this overlaps with the Submission Guidelines category, Composition: Perspective.

A good read/refresher is A Matter of Perspective

Image_2_04292013 - a two

Poor Angles:  Again, other areas of the guidelines overlap with this area depending on what the reviewer sees in the image. Many of these poor angle images are considered snapshots, because the photographer either didn’t find the right place to offer the best angle when composing the shot, or couldn’t get to it. This also comes into play with photographs of pets and animals. Just because Pooky Bear look adorable, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good image for a greeting card. These types of images are fine for your personal use, but are not considered marketable in the greeting card industry.

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Chaotic Compositions: This has common elements with the Balance of Elements category since it’s a basic lack of harmony and logic to any given design. Though this often becomes a more prominent issue in designs with graphic elements, it also applies to photographs. Chaotic designs can be explained as those where no apparent subject is present, therefore the eye just roams the image and never settles on that which grabs attention. Garden photographs can often come across as chaotic if the photographer is not careful to either choose an angle and wide lens to capture a great impression of the whole garden, or carefully chooses an angle that represents just a small part of the garden without too much excess visual competition.

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Next week we’ll tackle Composition: Framing/Alignment.  Till next week, I hope I’ve inspired you to go look through your store and see if you can weed out any images that the reviewers will find during their weeding which might fit Composition: Placement/Position.

For great resources & tips visit the SalonOfArt

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2013 1:12 pm

    Thank you, Doreen. Now I finally understand why I am never happy with the garden shots I take. In the view finder it looks so pretty, then when I see the image on the screen it looks boring. Now to go out and do some practicing with the right kind of lens 🙂

  2. April 30, 2013 9:43 am

    Plenty of great tips & advice Doreen. Thank you.

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