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Composing with Intention

The most important compositional tool of all is your intention. The aforementioned rules are the basic building blocks for an aesthetically pleasing image, but over the years I’ve come to grips with the fact that a good image is less about meeting the standards of what is “right” and more about what is intentional: What is the photographer trying to tell me? What mood or feeling is she trying to convey? What story is he trying to tell? So when creating an image, ask yourself, what is your intention with this image? What are you trying to convey to your viewer? As it has often been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In the end, for me, a good image is one that I’ll remember for some time, but in order to do so, it needs to go beyond the fundamentals and evoke an emotion or tell a story.

If you ever visit Bruges, Belgium, you’ll witness a quaint little town known for its horse-drawn carriages, bicycling commuters, wonderful chocolates, and beautiful churches. When touring the city, I found myself in an archway that opened up to a beautiful view of the Church of Our Lady. The view was majestic, and my intent was to create an image that evoked that feeling (Figure 4.27).

Figure 4.27

Figure 4.27 To create an ethereal feeling, I used a frame in a frame and slightly overexposed the top of the image.

ISO 250 • 1/250 sec. • f/8 • 15mm lens

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