Monday, December 29, 2014

Composition - The next step

Learning how to use your camera is just the first part, the next is learning how to take a photo.

There are rules to taking photos, but the rules are more guidelines and don't always work in every photo opportunity.  I have read numerous books, searched the internet and watched videos but still find that many of the examples photographers use are pretty useless to me.

I just don't see their photo composition the way they do.  Maybe that's because many photographers are a little too strict with the rules...and maybe those rules only exist to me once it's been pointed out in the photo.

So I'm adding two Youtube links to this post that I found very interesting.  Note, you do need quite a bit of bandwidth to play with but I am also including article links for those who can't Youtube for an hour or more in one go.

With the digital age people don't think about the photo they are taking, it's more a case of snapping away to get as many photos as you can.  While many readers here just want to enjoy taking a photo, you will get to a point where just taking a photo isn't enough if you carry on with photography.  You may even start to feel that your photos are uninteresting, maybe even crappy and wonder whether or not you should even bother.

You should, because, as you can see in Scott Kelby's video, it just takes a few adjustments like changing the angle to get better composition.  You will also see that no matter how good someone is at photography, they will still take crappy photos at some point.

Look at it this way, if you could only take film photos and the film was extremely expensive, you would think more about your composition and what the photo was about.  You could even try this out with a Fujifilm Instax Camera, which uses film and does need some thinking over before pressing the button as each photo is fairly expensive (but a very cool gadget on my wishlist).

If you feel that your photos are just not getting there, use the tools in the videos e.g. think about why you were drawn to that scene, what sparked your interest and work on that.  Photographers gets days where inspiration is non-existent and nothing seems to work, almost like a Writer's Block.

If you seem to be stuck with that block, frustrated that no matter what you take a photo of nothing seems to work, then just sit and look around you.  Forget about taking photos for a job, an assignment or to impress someone.  Forget about taking photos because you think you must.  Just look around you and if you see anything interesting, don't take your camera and take a photo.  Think about how you would frame the photo and why, what's interesting about that scene, does it get you excited about taking a photo etc?  Naturally, if it's an action photo, go for it :-D.

It's so easy to press the shutter button that you can get bored just as easily.  If you actually pay attention to your surroundings, see where your eye follows and if it makes you itch to take a photo, then photography will be more interesting and the inspiration greater.

Here's hoping you have a great photographic experience with the Samsung NX300 (or any other camera you may have) in 2015.

Article on composition
Youtube - Scott Kelby on Composition
Youtube - B&H

I'm working on an opportunity to use the Night modes in Auto Mode, let's hope that pans out soon lol.


  1. I am very happy with the blog. I owned a nx300 and you help me all lot. Very good job. Bravo. ... what do you think about the noise reduction in camera? And is big difference in photo quality with 18-55 and 30 lens. Thanks again for the very good job here.

    1. Thanks, I'm happy the blog has helped you :-D. Noise reduction in camera on the Samsung NX300 is fairly good but this feature will soften detail to remove noise. So you may find that certain details in an image haven't been preserved. I would use the feature in situations where I need to bump up my ISO to a point that noise will be visible and where I can't use a stable surface or tripod for longer exposure (so my ISO can be lowered).

      I did a test shot with both High ISO NR and Long Term NR set to On along with a photo with both set to OFF. The photo using the features had removed some of the noise but some detail as well. The were also small blotches e.g. one area would be smoother than the other and when editing this can become a problem. The photo without the features did increase ISO but there wasn't a huge difference between the two photos. Noise can be better reduced in Lightroom without using the noise reduction features.

      The 18-55mm is a great little lens in terms of kit lenses but the 30mm is sharper whereas the 18-55mm becomes soft as you zoom out. It does handle the softness better than my Canon's 18-55mm but I prefer primes for faster and sharper images. You also lose light with the 18-55mm when zooming out so it won't work too well in low light although I did use it at a museum recently and it did ok.

      The 30mm doesn't have the iFn feature so you won't be able to zoom in digitally (iZoom) or use the iDepth features. I don't find this a problem because these are not essential to me although it would have been nice as the iZoom feature almost turns your lens into a macro lens. The 20mm has the iFn feature but I chose the 30mm for better quality.

      With the 18-55mm you have the advantage of a wide angle and medium telephoto but less light and speed. With the 30mm you have a faster lens that can handle low light while taking up less space but doesn't have zooming capabilities. So between the two it would depend on what you want to take photos of. If working with good enough light, landscapes and group shots then this lens would suit the scene. If you are taking portrait photos (with group photos you need to move back quite a bit to get everyone in), low light scenes and product/food photos then the 30mm would be perfect for you.

      I don't believe in having a thousand and one lenses, but of my Canon and Samsung cameras, each have a 18-55mm kit lens and a prime lens (50mm for my Canon and 30mm for my Samsung). Just remember that being a cropped sensor your focal length is extended by 1.6 i.e. 30mm turns into 48mm. The 18-55mm does work very well for wedding photos but you need to know your lens limitations, lighting conditions etc. You get that right, then the 18-55mm will serve you very well.