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More Space Or Less Space?

Icebergs, Nordbugt, Scorsby Sund, Greenland.
Phase One A-Series with IQ180 and 23mm lens, 1/60 second @ f5.6, ISO 50
Join Peter Eastway in Scorsby Sund next year on a photo workshop - visit the website for details.


It can be challenging when you're working out what's right and what's not in photography. Composition is one of the most challenging areas and for everyone who likes a particular framing, there is usually someone who does not. I guess we all have different life stories, different backgrounds and consequently different preferences. I think that's a good thing because if everyone liked Neenish Tarts, my cake shop would be sold out and I'd have to put up with a lamington instead...

When judging competitions, one of the comments I make quite often is that the image needs more space. Now, that can seem contradictory because many photographers tell you to fill the frame with your subject and not to confuse the subject with extraneous elements and information.

I don't think these approaches are incompatible. In this photograph, for instance, extraneous elements have been removed. I waited until there was clear water between me and the iceberg, rather than shooting the image with a smattering of smaller icebergs inbetween.

Now, some people might think there's too much water, or too much sky. It makes the iceberg look a little small and insignificant, even though other indications are it is in fact rather large. Well, it's that sense of space I wanted to convey. I think the image needs this space to work.

So, what happens if I crop in a little closer? 


Cropped image.


Now, I have no doubt some people will prefer this image. It is simpler, I agree, but I feel I have lost the sense of space within the landscape. There's not as much reflection and the light cloud at the top feels a little cramped. At least it does for me.


Which approach is right? When it's your photograph, ultimately it's up to you and I don't believe there is always a right or a wrong, or even a better. However, I hope this may prompt you to consider the space within your photographs. Don't complicate the space - rather move into a camera position that creates a simple composition. Simple doesn't necessarily mean tight. Space can be good!


And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to Arnhemland, Georgia/Armenia, Iran, Greenland/Iceland and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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