Page X. Version 1.1, Page 1, ©2001 by Dale Cotton, all rights reserved.
Note: This document is a follow-up companion to Lessons in Composition for the Art Photographer. It's primarily directed towards landscape photography, which is what I know best, although many concepts translate into other genres.
Figure 1. 44-19
Now that you've had a bit of sink-or-swim exposure to the theoretical side of composition you may be thinking: "That's all very well on paper, but what good does it do me when I'm out on a shoot with my camera?" – Well, that's the subject of this tutorial.
At one's leisure one can sit down and analyse a picture in any amount of detail - according to the principles explained in my composition tutorial or any others. But - in the field, through the puny finder of your camera with often only seconds to prepare before the lighting or other factors change – that leisure isn't often there. The solution is twofold:
(2) In turn derives from the years you've spent looking at the work of other artists, as well as the years you've spent in the shoot-edit-print-evaluate loop of your own work.
I, for one, do not see in the field all the elements of composition I will later discover in front of the resulting print. In fact, my approach in the field is very simple and seat-of-the-pants, as I'll explain shortly.
Hone your compositional instincts at home by looking at and analysing many, many pictures.