Inspiration Photography

Pushing composition to the edge

Alter the way you see and create mystery.


Black and white images highlight different elements than images in color. One of the advantages of imagining compositions in monochrome is the creativity you can approach composition through form – the shape of things.

One of the best advice I received from a photographer friend was when I bought a macro lens and started shooting with it in a field outside my apartment complex in Bangkok. The lilies like the one pictured above were growing profusely in that field, and I spent late afternoons after work making image after image of the lilies, delighted with bokeh the macro lens produced.

(One of the most fun lenses I’ve used is the macro lens, pictured above, designed to hyperfocus on space that is very close, allowing the camera to capture what we might not be able to see with the human eye. Here’s a great introduction to macro photography from Digital Photography School.)

Xuan Hue by Aloha Lavina.

Sharing the images with my friend who was a watercolorist, he asked me if I had considered pushing the composition into more edgy ways of exploring form.

The question stuck in my mind as I explored the field again the following day, and I found that by altering the frame, I could find abstraction in the composition. That day, I learned that composition doesn’t need to have everything of a subject in the frame.

By moving the frame just toward the edges, the image held a mystery in the mind’s eye.

Water droplet by Aloha Lavina.

Recommended reading

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