Variations on the same theme (Composition)

Did you see my “3 settings challenge”? I had many answers on the French article but only two, for now, on the English one! Thank you so much, Kelly ans Nancy, for sharing your 3 settings choice ! 🙂

I shared my own 3 choices too, in the comments.


Let’s talk about the subject of today. 🙂

I am often surprised, when I shoot with other photographers and especially beginners, to see how they photograph and how few pictures they take.
They see a great subject, they shoot, and then, they go away!

And then I think :

Eeeeeh! Wait, wait, wait!! 😆
Have you just shot only one picture of that soooo amazing subject and left?! 😮

Are you really sure of your framing, exposure, depth of fields?!


At the analogue photography time, I was neverthelss a very sporadic shooter…

But digital photography is simple, free, and you can see your mistakes, live!
You can then correct them and try so many things if you want!
Do you think it is reasonable to take only one photo of an interesting subject?! Plus, you are a beginner so I am not sure that the picture can be the best possible on the first shot! 😉

Personnaly, I admit that, when I think I have found a good subject, I am now used to take 10 pictures of it.
I know it can seem a lot, especially if you are a “one shot” guy or woman.

But! But! But!… I am sure it’s often useful to try different exposures, depth of field and focus choices. And subjects move, things change!…
Moreover, it is so important for me to seek to compose my pictures really well!

So, I spot a subject, I take a first picture, I change a bit the framing, I take another one… I make a step or too and shoot. I change again the framing to guide the eye into the photo and then, I shoot. How could that be with another orientation? Let’s try an horizontal framing. Shooting one picture or too…
Oh, a bird! One more. 😉


To illustrate this process, I want to share with you, today, different pictures I took of a subject that drew my attention.
It was the sky framed between houses in a really small italian square and a round lamp standing against it. There are also a little shiny chimney and some wires.

Later, I will show you a little portfolio made of pictures like these ones, but today I would like to share with you my shooting, to show you the various images I took, with their similarities and differences.




1st picture.
I naturally choose a vertical format to follow the direction of the street in front of me.
I use the black round in the sky as a focal point on the top of my composition.




2nd picture
My next idea is to switch the picture orientation and try an horizontal one, following the direction of the street on my right.
I decide, too, to use the plane trail and to make it go toward (or start from) the black round.
I frame, here, holding my camera in order to get the roof line of the house in the lower left of the picture parallel to the frame.




3rd picture.
I am wondering, however, which is the better horizontal line to choose for this picture. As I am looking at the sky, there is difficult, with the perspective, to know which would be the better basis for the picture!
I slightly turn my camera to use, now, the line of the roofs above me as the horizontal direction.

I realize that, from the beginning, I put a rectangle in a rectangle (sky rectangle area inside the rectangular frame) with the two shapes having the same orientation.




4th picture.
So, I decide to try other framings with a more dynamic approach, swinging my framing to give to the sky rectangular area a diagonal direction.
The black round is near the little chimney. I frame in a way that the street on the right almost hits the upper right corner of the frame.




5th picture.
What if I used that approach with an horizontal framing? 🙂
In this picture, the street that is on my left almost hit the lower left corner of the frame.
The main area, with the focus point, is now to the right of the picture.




6th picture.
I think I am done with the dynamic versions, so I go back to the more static ones, with the frame in the same direction as the sky rectangular area.
Previously (3rd version), I put the subject to the left of the picture and used the right portion of the street as a guide. Here, I decide I don’t want to see the space between the two houses (to the right of the 3rd version) and shift my framing toward the left. The subject is now to the right of the frame and the guide is the left part of the street.




7th picture.
As a last picture, when I feel that I have explored a lot of opportunities, I like to go back to my first idea and do this framing again. I start afresh my framing reasoning and shoot.
As you can see, the picture is not exactly the same as the first one, as I included here a bigger black area in the upper part of the picture, and less sunlit housefront in its lower part.



For now, I admit that I am not very interested to choose which photo I prefer and which I will choose for my little portfolio (It depends on the other images, taken in other streets too).
However, don’t you think it is mesmerizing to see how you can change a picture with a simple framing or vantage point or orientation change?! 😀

Do you still think I am a bit silly to catch, sometimes, 7, 8 or even 10 pictures of the same subject?! 🙂
Please note that, here, I didn’t tried the square format, neither changed the depth of field, not changed my focal length!…



Often, I am upset as I think I shoot too much. These are a lot of photos to sort! 🙄
Sometimes, I think I would have to shoot less and would have to decide which picture(s) I really want to capture…
That’s a good thought to, and a good goal.

But I am also proud to be aware of these so many opportunities Photography can offer us and to use (I hope!) with good reasons all its parameters. As you can see, I am not a fatalist of photography! I think each thing in your image can be chosen and managed.

For me, picture creating is a game of strategy and if you want to win, it is better not always to play with the pawn closer to you, or the one which seems obvious. 😉


Please note that I now leave in a trip to see my family and I might not be able to add new photos nor articles on the website for a few days.
I will be back on october 10th.

Take care ! 🙂

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