I believe composition is not only the most important part of photography, it’s the fundamental contributor to making captivating images that engage the viewer.
That’s why I think it’s also the most difficult part of creative photography, and it’s the area I spend most of my time studying and trying to improve. I also hear from many photographers and students that it’s their most frustrating challenge as well—whether on my workshops, or in talks, or in my Q+A days on Facebook.
In fact, I’d venture to say it’s probably the area you’d like to improve the most.
For me composition is like a challenging puzzle that I try to solve every time I go out to photograph. A even though I’m more comfortable with decisions now than I was a decade ago, I am always pushing myself to find ways to make stronger, simpler compositions. The difference now is that I enjoy the challenge, much like moving from a solved puzzle to a more difficult one.
Over time I developed a mental checklist that I use to evaluate my images, whether while I’m composing in the field or editing in Lightroom. I also use this checklist when I critique student images, and it helps me remain focused on the positives and use those as building blocks for improvement into the future.
I created a PDF document of the checklist to help you evaluate your images honestly and compositionally.
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I’m also in the process of developing some in-depth online composition courses that may help you in your creative path as a photographer, including interactive feedback of your images. Stay tuned!
Questions or feedback? Please share in the comments below.