All about Composition and Your Camera
It sounds easy and it is easy enough. Yet nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand photographs fail because of the photographer's vague approach to his subject.
The photographer and his camera loiter through a fine summer afternoon and an Irish landscape. Soon a thin mist will put a veil on the green face of the hills. There is a flock of sheep and the clouds are mirrored by a lake. The silhouette of a church spire stands out on the father edge of this idyllic world and the faint outline of the village, behind which presently the sun will set. What a world! What a picture, the photographer thinks, getting the camera ready - and will surely devalue another piece of the best film material by exposing on it the image of this vague delight in everything.
Be careful whenever you get this "What a picture !" sensation. Get most suspicious and question yourself severely : what is what? Ask coolly what you are getting so excited about. The sheep? The sky? The clouds? The sunset? The mist? The meadows? Or just the nice country air?
Do not give way to sentiment. Stop for a moment as you start fidgeting with your camera and demand a direct statement : what are you going to photograph? The sunset behind the village church? The soft hills and the depth of the scene drawn by the mist? The cloud-dotted sky and the sheep under it? Just the sheep and their doubles in the lake? Perhaps that mirror of the water alone?
This is the decisive moment. Burst aside this tempting environment crowed with opportunities, beauty and sentiment. Be Shrewd. Recognise your subject. There are a score of subject matters in front of you. You are not going to get any of them unless you pick just one. Make up your mind. Have courage to argue. Do not be too shy to talk aloud. State clearly what you want to take. Passers-by may think you are mad. Do not care. You are not. You are taking your first step towards photographic wisdom.
You are just selecting your subject and are about to approach it directly.