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What Makes A Good Composition- Analyzing 7 Great Images

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Mar 16

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Analyzing Anthony Mandler

Composition can make or break a photo. Choosing where to place your subject and where to crop can be based off the rule of thirds to help balance out your image. In this episode I analyze  seven of Anthony’s photos, showing how his use of lighting, colors, and subject placement enhance each photo.

Putting this into Practice

Planning out your image, especially sketching, is a great tool to use before you shoot. It will help you determine where to place things in the frame and/or where you can crop afterwards. Using these techniques will make your photos more pleasing to the viewer and create focal point.

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  • Nick Bedford

    The reason it works for me is that it’s deliberately trying to create a “personal space” for the subject. It’s separating him from the rest of the room by use of the subject’s direction and also the light difference.

  • Short_french_fry

    The whole “eye going around in the image”, is it the same as the Golden Ratio?

  • Alain Pilon

    I read The photographers Eye ( ) a while ago and it really helped my composition skills. It goes over pretty much all the element making up a photo and how they relate to the overall composition. 

  • Tim Piggott

    The crop tool in Lightroom has some even more awesome composition overlays!!

  • Daniel Thom

    Wow, never noticed that, thanks!

  • janiecakes

    Another great episode.  The Rule of Thirds structure is called a trigram and I believe each section is also called a trigram. For example the 9th trigram would be the lower right section. 

  • Melania Hernandez

    haha cool, my sister is like friends with snoop. They hang out its crazy!

  • Bryan Petty

    I think we (humans, lol) are naturally attracted to symmetry. I think that is why we are attracted to the gym/split room photo. Just that perfectly even split right down the middle. 

  • Mark boucher

    very intereresting. I knew about the rule of thirds but the triangle thing, no

  • stef

    awesome episode aaron, all 3 thumbs up. …wait wut?!

  • Sarah Allegra

    I’m wondering if the reason the 2nd to last image works when it “shouldn’t” is because each half of the photo follows the rule of thirds so well.  Having each side being so distinct, and following its own set of rules seems to make it balanced and work.

  • Mark Lau

    I think the reason looking the wrong way works is because he uses the speedbag to create the missing space. Instead of feeling a sense of ‘squeezed in’ our brains replace the emptiness with the space between the subject and the speedbag. The artist almost personifies the speedbag as if the subject is angry with it and ignoring it creating another interesting dynamic…

  • Jenna Petrone

    I’ve never learned about composition and rule of thirds probably because my schedule is different from other photo majors in my year and I never took a design class.  I think throughout my entire college career, this is the most I have learned on the subject.  Once again, thank you Aaron! 

  • Emidio

    I thougt the “double photo” work because it looks like a mirror…

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  • Richarthur

    Great short guide! Really helped me think abôut composition.

    I think the gym image works because you take it as a collage. For me the man is looking away because he is using the gym as an escape. He has moved on from the left side of the image.

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