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Thread: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

  1. #1

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    Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    In response to this discussion:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ion-Encouraged


    It seems some basic Landscape Composition Formulas could be helpful for many as more than a few of the images posted are landscapes and could used some help with their foundational composition. Image composition is one of the foundational elements be it a sketch, painting, photograph or most any image on a flat print. Without this foundational setting, the viewer's eye will tend to wander about within the image with little if anything to draw the eyes of the viewer into the image. For any image to express what the image creator and it's subject is trying to share requires some basic foundational elements one of which is geometric composition of the image. Beyond this comes light, contrast, shading and all that.

    *These elements of the image is FAR more important than all the yak about Foto Hardware bits from camera, lens, film, processing, print making, yaka_pixles and all that Techno yak.*

    The intellectual and visual exercise would be to study and examine these examples of composition geometry then apply them to various notable prints, paintings, sketches and other 2D flat images to see then analyze their foundational geometric composition, why they are visually effective and how they can be applied to your creative image making.
    https://shellielewis.wordpress.com/2...tion-formulas/

    Painters and other non-photographic flat 2D image makers from the past to present have an awful lot to offer photographers as photographic images share an awful lot with in common with these other expressive art forms.



    Bernice

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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Hi, Bernice. I would choose the word principle over formula when speaking of composition. I don't pretend that I never used certain compositional rules. When I was first learning photography, the rule of thirds improved my images considerably, since I had no art background at all; it was a guide to thinking about using the implicit dynamics of "reading" in a rectangle, or organizing to give emphasis to the subject, and thus, to identifiy the real subject in the first place, and it's relationship to the rest of what was included in the frame. Nor would I deny this experience to someone else. However, in my view, composition in a much richer domain than formula can support, because the artist's actual subject may be something entirely unseen, just as in a poem, the subject may not be stated at all but conveyed to the reader or hearer by means of metaphor. I am a strong believer in visual metaphor.
    Rather than applying a host of "formula" examples to existing art works, it may be more helpful to become conscious of how the eye moves in them, what is noticed first, what is noticed last, and what this has to do with the effect of the image on the viewer. The good artist, in my view, organizes the composition on the basis of what will best serve the subject, seen or unseen.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  3. #3
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Perhaps best to be moved to the "On Photography" subforum to discuss.

    And, as for discussing, I think it's just as important to consider non-traditional compositions, to break the rules once you know and understand them, and experiment. I think it's incorrect to say that a successful landscape must follow one of these "formulas."

    Edit: Yes, +1 to the above.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  4. #4

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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Know the "rules" before breaking the rules applies.

    Examples in the link are some of the basic geometric compositions commonly used. If one does not believe this is important to effective expressive 2D images, spend some time at any art museum, art gallery and other facilities that display 2D images then analyze them for basic geometric composition... to find these basic geometric composition forms or combinations of them in any given 2D image.

    IMO, it is arrogant and naive to believe foundational form by mean of geometric composition is not with adhering to when one of the great gifts of the human condition is pattern recognition directly tied to emotional response then memory.



    Bernice

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    You seem to have taken the comment(s) to the extreme - no one said these compositional techniques should be completely ignored and discarded. Only that one can and should consider other techniques, when done with intent.

    One of the things I noticed while sitting in and/or participating in numerous critiques and discussions [of photographs in collegiate art classes], is that the successful artists were not those that adhered to "rules" but instead were those that could explain their thought process and decisions leading to the photograph in question, regardless of their adherence to paradigms.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
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  6. #6
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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Perhaps best to be moved to the "On Photography" subforum to discuss.
    Yes, done!

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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    I've learned vastly more about composition from painters than from photographers. Painters have been at it for rather a lot longer than photographers. I've also noticed (as a gross generalization) that photography has invented its own "rules" of composition rather than building on the experiences of painters. As a fun exercise, try and find the "rule of thirds" and other photography composition chestnuts in books on composition for beginning painters...

    An old but good resource that I found very useful is Henry Rankin Poore's little book Pictorial Composition: An Introduction. Another excellent and more recent book is Molly Bang's Picture This: How Pictures Work.

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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Early 1980's shortly after taking on this photographic interest, the group of artist friends went after me for being "composition inept". This was totally not tolerable for them, dragged me into all the art museums in the San Francisco area and made me study, look at and understand significant paintings and related flat images. What they did was more of a blessing and went a LONG way to improving composition skills and understanding the fundamental importance of composition structure in any 2D flat image.

    Painters and art history has a LOT to offer for those interested in creative and expressive photographic image making.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    I've learned vastly more about composition from painters than from photographers. Painters have been at it for rather a lot longer than photographers. I've also noticed (as a gross generalization) that photography has invented its own "rules" of composition rather than building on the experiences of painters. As a fun exercise, try and find the "rule of thirds" and other photography composition chestnuts in books on composition for beginning painters...

    An old but good resource that I found very useful is Henry Rankin Poore's little book Pictorial Composition: An Introduction. Another excellent and more recent book is Molly Bang's Picture This: How Pictures Work.

  9. #9

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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Know the "rules" before breaking the rules applies. ... it is arrogant and naive to believe foundational form by mean of geometric composition is not with adhering to when one of the great gifts of the human condition is pattern recognition directly tied to emotional response then memory.
    Bernice
    +1

    I, too, have learned more from painters than photographers about composition, perspective and, notably, placing the optical center of the image.

    Most photographs end up with the optical center right in the middle of the image. This is due to cameras having the lens neatly centered on the film. Cameras without movements are stuck with this, but the image can be cropped to move the optical center around a bit. View cameras are even more flexible in this regard. Check out the paintings of Venice by Canaletto for examples of having the optical center of the image to one side; he used this.

    My art history classes in university and gallery visits have taught me more about geometrical arrangement, creative use of perspective, figure/ground relationships and directing the viewers eye than any photographic resource I know.

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #10
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    Re: Basic Landscape Composition Formulas..

    I have to admit that I go the other way...I ignore or break the rules, then spent time figuring out why the images did not 'work'.

    Venice by Canaletto -- I can easily see what you meant, Doremus. I like his use of his artistic license to flip the scene, also. I can almost hear him (translated of course), "That turned out very well -- if I paint the mirror image, I can paint another just like it." Unless the website accident flipped the image...
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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