this may not be the place but does anyone have any info on websites about composition (photographic or artistic)..we are hammered with grain structure, Q stats, MTF curves, paper types and phenol - dot developers but i'm havng littlle luck on finding websites (even good books) on composition...I ve got reasonable grasp (repetition, rule of thirds, deep perspective) but some extra info cannot hurt...
ta for your time,
I can't offer any direct suggestions on websites. What I do is dissect pictures that really strike me. I will make a photocopy of it and draw all kinds of lines on it, make notes etc. Sometimes it will take several tries to finally figure out what makes the picture click.
It also helps to do this with some like minded buddies as well.
You might want to try this article, it's part of a 9-part series by landscape photographer Alain Briot:
My philosophy on composition is that if it looks good to me when I frame it, I shoot it no matter what rule it appears to break. On a more practical note I'd endorse Eric's comment on looking at images made by other photographers and without directly copying them you will always be able to take something from them to help you develop a way of seeing.
Another excerise I encourage my students to do is to spend time looking at their own images to see how many new images you can find within them. This is the only time that I ever encourage anyone to use two L shaped pieces of card.
Finally, when you are photographing, photograph the light. It may be an obvious statement but it's surprising how many photographers don't do it.
This is nearly a classic: "Photographic Composition", by Tom Grill and Mark Scanlon; ISBN 0-81745 4276.
" ... it is amazing what you can see, just by looking ..." Composition is that which draws attention to your subject and simplifies out that which needs much less attention. It is so often a change from -as-found- to how-I-arranged-it. It is often a camera angle, a choice of foreground prominance or how light frames. It is arguably the most important thing we can develop in ourselves. It is also often the most difficult thing to manipulate. It is also personal - my own/your own style. There are certainly lots of good templates out there but the Mona Lisa pose with paramount lighting can easily fade into the wall paper. The great photographs I remember are not classic compositions necessarily. I have taken courses where my compositions were measured against the norms and (like commercial photography - I created what they wanted) The originals are the ones that said what I wanted to say. Composition is like a rope you throw around the viewers eys to drag them to see what you want to show them and tell them what you think of it. It can be as dramatic as an explosion or as compelling as a wisper. I think it is that boreing middle ground we are best to avoid.