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  • Street Photography Advanced composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

    We had done a lot of research on how to impart our knowledge to participants of PMPE (PhotoMalaysia Photosafari Experience) Knowing how to shoot is one thing but coaching other people how to shoot is another. Most mentors would have taken the easier path…they would just show their students how good a photographer they are and hope that the students can emulated them.

    Some have resorted to show students how to take a particular photo, camera settings and even the position to stand. Of course you will then have the whole class showing more or less the same photos from the same angle.

    We have done a lot of brainstorming on how to make the students become better photographers. It is the “teaching how to fish as opposed to giving a fish” Of course, it is easier said than done.

    Coming back to composition, I have drawn upon my earlier venture into drawing when I was a kid. We started with line drawings where we can place the subject anywhere on the canvas. We then draw in what background we want our subject to be in (like kampong, market or beach scene). The placement of the subject was always perfect because we drew it in. There was no cut off toes, hands, busy background, and people blocking the main subject or things that dilute the attention of the viewer.

    However, when we come to photography, there were real life interferences. Things that were not meant to be in the picture somehow mysteriously appeared in the background after the photo were taken. Strange things grew out of the head of the subjects etc. So what has gone wrong? Why can’t we create the same image as in our drawing? The answer is control. The photographer needs to take control of his image the same way as he controls what goes into the drawing.

    How do you take control of the image? Well, it is too short a space to talk about control. Furthermore you need to have hands-on practise to make it work. You can use this article as a seed for your thoughts or take the short cut version by joining our PMPE programs. I hope you enjoy this write-up.

    This is the workflow in a drawing.

    1. Start with a blank canvas and draw in the subject
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    2. Add more details to the drawing
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    3. Add in the background that is suitable for the story
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    4. Do some shading and more details
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    5. There you are a BnW image
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    6. Convert the BnW image to color
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    Off course in real life you start with the color image...and thats why you need to take control of the scene.
    Last edited by maxby; 03-05-2011, 08:32 PM.
    Maxby has a facebook too

    PhotoSafari - each experience is a different

  • #2
    Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

    Excellent approach, maxby. Many thanks.

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    • #3
      Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

      Funny how you titled it lah uncle max. Advance composition techniques and yet still back to basics LOL! But good stuff.
      RFSG.ASIA

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      • #4
        Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

        Very good write Uncle Max...
        Waiting for your Part III...

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        • #5
          Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

          Originally posted by clipper79 View Post
          Funny how you titled it lah uncle max. Advance composition techniques and yet still back to basics LOL! But good stuff.
          I think it is appropriate. Sometimes we advanced too far and forget about the basics and that will come and bite us one day. It is like getting lost in the forest.
          Maxby has a facebook too

          PhotoSafari - each experience is a different

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          • #6
            Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

            Nice article Uncle Max.
            Many people seem to have forgotten that photography in its core essence is a visual art, as do sketching and drawing. Anyone with a strong core of sketching and drawing will certainly have no problem with understanding the rules of composition in photography.
            There's really NOTHING to photograph

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            • #7
              Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

              wohoooooo!!! part 2 sudah kluar......part3 plak.....ha..ha......leh la otai maxby wat buku pasni.....kompom panas dlm industri photography.....
              I love Mechanical Camera

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              • #8
                Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                Originally posted by majali View Post
                Excellent approach, maxby. Many thanks.
                Originally posted by raymondksh View Post
                Very good write Uncle Max...
                Waiting for your Part III...
                Thanks....
                Maxby has a facebook too

                PhotoSafari - each experience is a different

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                • #9
                  Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                  Wonderful article and certainly some thoughts to be chewed on and ponder about... Beautiful pic there as well.. Thanks for the effort and appreciate it a lot
                  www.ndrewlee.wordpress.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                    Originally posted by The Dark View Post
                    Nice article Uncle Max.
                    Many people seem to have forgotten that photography in its core essence is a visual art, as do sketching and drawing. Anyone with a strong core of sketching and drawing will certainly have no problem with understanding the rules of composition in photography.

                    I am trying to reach the photographers coming from the science stream. I think these are the group that really have problems with composition.
                    Maxby has a facebook too

                    PhotoSafari - each experience is a different

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                    • #11
                      Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                      I thought you were really drawing something Max. Hahah. Nice one.
                      [URL="http://www.jasonbeyond.com"]www.jasonbeyond.com[/URL]

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                      • #12
                        Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                        Originally posted by mazrimu View Post
                        wohoooooo!!! part 2 sudah kluar......part3 plak.....ha..ha......leh la otai maxby wat buku pasni.....kompom panas dlm industri photography.....
                        Thanks....maybe one day I will put all my thoughts into a book..
                        Maxby has a facebook too

                        PhotoSafari - each experience is a different

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                        • #13
                          Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                          wondering when PM will organise a street shooting session

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                          • #14
                            Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                            Originally posted by maxby View Post
                            I think it is appropriate. Sometimes we advanced too far and forget about the basics and that will come and bite us one day. It is like getting lost in the forest.
                            Provided that we even progress far enough to start with. But as for me, composition as much as it is a fundamental in photography, it is not everything. To me, it's still very much photojournalism done in the most artistic way possible. It's main aim is to tell stories, hence the subject matter is one of the more important element in the whole composition. Like behhl mentioned once, it has to communicate even if you did not title it. With that though in mind, I also remembered what Getty's boss once said, "it's not the photographer that makes the picture, but the audience". Hence concluding that if the shot does not evoke an emotional response when you see it, it's weak. A good picture should stand on it's own.

                            I ran a thread in the b&w section called "WP rally, Singapore" with not many people understanding what's really happening. If the audience is not engange with it, I believe my aim is at the wrong audience. It's like selling a wrong product in a wrong market
                            RFSG.ASIA

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                            • #15
                              Re: Street Photography advance composition techniques, Part II Back to Basics

                              Originally posted by g88 View Post
                              wondering when PM will organise a street shooting session
                              There is already one organized by the f64 group. Made up my a fee fellas from PM. Get in touch with yoong (the super mod).
                              RFSG.ASIA

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