Join Steve Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring images of the roads of Havana, part of Photo Critique of the Week.
- Hi, I'm Steve Simon, the Passionate Photographer and welcome to another edition of Photo Critique of the Week. Today, I'm going to talk about composition. And I'm going to deconstruct an image and talk about why I think, in my opinion, it works. Now, this was a very quick moment. I was in Havana, I looked up, I saw the scene. I think I was attracted to all these leading lines in the image, but the main star of the picture is this little figure there.
And I think that's what makes the picture stronger in that there's scale and there's a lot of visual weight heading to that area of the person. But the leading lines are taking you up there so it's happening very fast. I'm just taking a few shots. I wanted to see how they would look in black and white and ultimately, I think I chose black and white because I think it's stronger, but we'll come back to that. It's this moment when the figure just turned and continued to walk and you can see the difference in the legs.
Now, you've got kind of the scissor like shape of the legs for two frames really. And I continued to shoot and it was over. But there's the final image and you can see the original, which I believe is this one here. You can see that I've cropped in a little bit on the original, but the thing that I've noticed, because this is a very graphic image, I thought it would work better in black and white. There's not a lot of color here, but the color is not really amplifying the content and in the color image, your eye is going to different parts of the scene.
Whereas, in black and white, all lines lead toward this area here. You can see the lines coming and it's not so much that I'm really thinking about these leading lines but it's only after the fact. The thing is, the more you shoot, the more you're going to learn from the experience and you're going to react in the field like I did here. I didn't really think about the composition. I made sure that I had everything that I needed in the picture and then I could crop in a little bit later on.
But ultimately, this was the image and if not for these legs in this shape, I don't think I ever would've kept this image. I wouldn't really have thought much about it. I guess part of the takeaway here is that obviously composition counts. As you progress on your photographic journey, you're going to get better at it, because your going to learn from the critique sessions when you get back and see what you did and what you didn't do. You're going to correct the next time in the field. But the other thing to keep in mind is that a very small, small difference could make a huge impact in the final shot.
And for me, this tiny little area where the legs are and there's a little open air between the legs has made this shot work and sometimes it's just such a small detail that adds an extra star or makes a picture work when it wouldn't normally work. So, there you go, that's it for this edition of Critique of the Week. I hope you'll join me next week on a new edition of Photo Critique of the Week.
Check back each week to watch as more critiques are added, covering new work from many different genres. This series is designed to help you discover how to improve your work as a photographer. By heightening your awareness through analysis, you can harness the information to enhance your photographic eye.
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