• Lynne

Photography Composition with a Magnolia Blossom

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Tulip Magnolia

Ron and I are putting together a workbook for a photo class we're teaching this Summer. It's a bit of a challenge as we haven't done this before.


I decided to set myself a few assignments with some composition rules for photography. I wanted to shoot some photos using "The Rule of Thirds" and "Negative Space". I also wanted to shoot in Aperture Priority with a "Shallow Depth of Field" (a low F-stop number) so I could blur my background and be close to my subject.

Tulip Magnolia Shooting Into the Light

The tulip magnolia blossom (right) follows all those guidelines and, in addition, I'm shooting into the early morning light. You can see the way the light highlights the upper portion of the blossom.

Tulip Magnolia with the Light Coming from Behind

In this shot the settings are the same on the camera as the previous shot but I moved around the blossom so the sun was behind me.

Ornamental Fruti Tree

In this picture the settings were the same but I was not zoomed in as tightly so the background is soft but not blurred out. This is more "Leading Lines" than "Rule of Thirds" as your eye follows the line of the branch from the left and through the picture.

Isolated Tree Blossom

There are so many decisions to make when taking a photo than it's good to take a few elements and try to incorporate those choices into a photo. Practice makes perfect -- so they say.

What I learned: Apart from having the camera setting appropriate for the photo I wanted to take I had to have the focus point in the right place on the subject of the photo. I had to be aware of where the light was and how that light direction effected the photo. I had to decide how close I wanted to be to the subject. I had to determine whether to isolate the subject from the rest of the background. Where in the frame was I going to place the subject? How much negative space do I want around the subject? Where is the eye going to rest when seeing this photo? Wow! I didn't think I could think that much about one photo!

I think I actually achieved my original goal of "Rule of Thirds" and "Negative Space" and maybe a couple of others besides. Taking good photos, like everything else in life, takes time and practice. On to the next photographic challenge.

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