Composition is King

Despite the fact that this article is about composition within film, there are lessons to be learned here about storytelling in still photography.  You’re photographs can go from good to excellent with dramatic composition.

The subtle, well-composed frames of Ida prove that composition is amongst the most powerful visual storytelling tools at our disposal.

In recent years, the Oscar category for Best Cinematography has been dominated largely by flashy VFX-heavy films. Many of these films are also heavy on camera movement and incredibly complex lighting schemes. This year, somewhat surprisingly if I’m being honest, the Academy’s cinematography nominations trended back towards traditionally shot films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Mr. Turner (plus another nomination for Roger Deakins).

However, a fantastic Polish drama called Ida, shot in stunning high-contrast black and white in a 1.33 aspect ratio by Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, is perhaps the most surprising choice of all, and it’s a choice from which we can learn a great deal about just how important composition can be to the image creation process. [read No Film School]

Buddies

Buddies - Joe Randeen © 3 Penguins Photography

“Bubbies” is a set of 6 shots taken (in succession over about a minute of time) of two friends hanging out.  They were watching the performance of a middle school band playing on a stage at Disneyland.  A conversation ensued during some loud percussion.  I love their expressions.  Nothing that could be set up.  It happened.  Goes back to what nearly every photographer will tell you – “Always have a camera ready to shoot.”