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How to Improve Composition by Shooting From Above – Weekly Photo Critique

By Chris Corradino on May 12, 2014


By finding a high vantage point to shoot from, the photographer has cleverly invited us into the scene. From above, we see a young woman in a bed of grasses. Noticeably absent are distractions such as a wristwatch, pocketbook, and phone. Her dog rests close by, ready for whatever adventures may follow. We can picture ourselves there, far from the routine of daily responsibilities.

Creative photographers understand that guidelines can be limiting if you never stray from them. Anscombe has boldly placed her subject across the center of the frame. She’s also chosen a wider perspective as opposed to filling the frame with a telephoto lens. These artistic choices are both in sharp contrast to the rules of composition we often read in photo magazines.

A good photograph doesn’t need to be overly complicated to portray emotion. The lighting here is subtle yet effective. By using a slight vignette, Anscombe brings our attention to the subject rather than the environment. All four corners appear darker than the center of the image. The vignette is a stylized look that can be done in post production, or even with light modifiers attached to a flash.

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About the Author

Chris Corradino is the head of the photography mentor program at NYIP. Just like all of our mentors, he is also a professional photographer.