A few months ago, a good friend of mine, who I had met years ago in the camera club scene, and who now runs a small but rapidly growing photography club, invited me back to his club as a guest speaker to deliver a presentation at the September meeting.
Last year I had presented at the same club, and I delivered an audio-visual show and talk about wildlife photography.
This time, the theme I chose was light and composition, and I titled my presentation and talk A Perfectionist’s Guide to Light and Composition.
I am a very fussy photographer, and I fuss about light and composition in particular, so it made for an excellent subject which I thought would provide good value to the club’s members, many of whom are relatively new to photography.
We are now living in a digital age, and the proliferation of digital cameras has put cameras into the hands of many people who would never bother to own a camera if the medium was still film.
Additionally, technology, both in terms of cameras and generally, has progressed at a rapid rate. The unfortunate side-effect of this digital ‘explosion’ is that many people who get into photography worry more about gear and technology than the basics of good photography.
For my presentation, I wanted to focus (so to speak) on the basics, and examine in words and pictures some of the crucial building blocks of great images.
My presentation started with a audio-visual slideshow of a wide variety of my best images from the seven types of subject matter upon which my photography is based.
I then proceeded to provide an introduction to light, talking about what is light, and the properties and effects of different types of lighting. Along with this, I presented different images which highlighted both good light and ‘bad’ light, and I showed examples of how flat light looks, compared to the more dramatic and engaging side lighting.
My next topic was composition. For this topic, I went into the ‘rules’ of composition, but rather than calling them ‘rules’, I called them ‘principles’, and explained the main principles of composition, why they work, and why one could or should break the rules in some circumstances.
Along with the key points about effective composition, I again provided numerous photographic examples, and pointed out that many of my images use several principles of composition rather than just one.
The club’s members and guests asked me questions from time to time, and some of the questions raised brought up closely related topics which my presentation did not originally address, so thanks to those members and guests, I was able to provide more information which would help them in their pursuits.
All in all, it was a great night, and I am pleased that I had the opportunity to share my images and knowledge, and help newer photographers think about, and put into practice, the fundamentals of light and composition.
Fortunately there was very little focus on gear, and no questions about “What did you use to capture that?”, to which my answer might have been “light, composition, and a camera”.
To my delight, I have been asked back to the club to deliver another presentation early next year, so I look forward to engaging more with the club’s members to help them along their photographic journeys.