What Makes A Photo Work?

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Photo Composition Tips: Keep An Eye On The Frame

The image as presented for feedback.


A tranquil forest scene with a lovely flow of water towards the camera has several points of interest. To my eye, the most important points are the angled rock in the background on the right, and the green leaf in the water on the left where the water swirls around. These centres are positioned diagonally opposite each other and work well to bring the eye through the composition, but what do you think about the framing?



To my eye, when you place centres of interest within the frame, it is often (but not always) best to give them similar offsets from the frame. However, the leaf is much closer to the edge of the  photograph than the angled rock above, and this to my eye lacks balance.



Here is the full frame photograph presented, before our Anonymous Photographer edited it. There is plenty of area to work with, although the sky in the background is bright and somewhat distracting. One option is to crop a little lower, closer to the angled rock, thus balancing the distances between the two centres of interest.



Does this look better? The balance seems stronger to my eye and the top of the image has been darkened a little as well. (It's challenging working on a JPEG to bring out more detail, so I haven't lightened up the water much, but this is certainly another option.)



Now I am taking liberties a little with the photograph, but I have warmed up the colours in the foreground, leaving the background untouched. This adds to the sense of depth.



Next, I have added colour saturation, perhaps too much for some sensibilities, but I hope this has created a little more mood and balance. Once again, most of the hard work has already been done by our Anonymous Photographer, it's just the small refinements that may make the difference.


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