Learning to make shapes with lines

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Basic Exercises for Picture Composition

Learning to make shapes with lines

A few weeks ago in our blog we posted a contribution regarding the most common mistakes. Are you, too, often not really satisfied with your pictures? Do you get the feeling that your photos are somehow lacking harmony? The cause is usually a composition that has not been thought out: the composition of the individual elements in the picture is not strong enough. The linear composition does not stand out clearly.

But not to worry! These mistakes can easily be remedied with a little practice.

  1. Take your camera and select a standard focal length on the zoom lens. On a conventional SLR (with APS-C sensor) this corresponds to a setting of 35mm, on a full frame camera, 50mm. No zooming! Concentrate on taking pictures with just this one focal length. This way you train your eye and quickly get a good feel for perspective.

  2. Walk or drive on a Sunday to an empty supermarket car park and photograph the white lines! Nothing but white lines on an asphalt-grey background. Of course, you can also shoot a kerb or something similar. But afterwards a painted line simply has a better effect on the picture.

  3. Try to create a setting for the lines! Some of the time as a horizontal line, sometimes as a vertical, sometimes as a diagonal. Look for corners and angles, for uneven places. Think of the rule of thirds or other design principles of photography (eg: golden section, golden spiral, triangle). Change the visual focus. Take some photos vertically from above, some from a worm's eye view ...

Take as many different pictures as possible in 20 minutes. Then you go home and look at the pictures on the computer. Which shots work best? Why do the others appear to be poor? Arrange your best pictures into a collage and print it out.

Once you've got your hand in with the lines, look for a new object, such as a bicycle or a car. Again using only one focal length, try to take as many expressive pictures as possible from different angles.

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