Forums > Photography Talk > Compositional Correctness vs. Lack of Soul



Posts: 196

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Silver Mirage wrote:
If you do retail photography for money - wedding, portrait, seniors or whatever - the first thing to realize is that very few clients care about formal composition. However, every client cares about how they look in the picture.

Keep the emphasis on the client and concentrate on getting good facial expression and body language. Keep the background clean. Do that and the rest will fall into place.

Very good advise, concentrate on what you are paid for, you are not going to revolutionize photography at a wedding.

Jan 02 13 01:22 am Link


Harold Rose

Posts: 2925

Calhoun, Georgia, US

Jacob delaRosa wrote:
I shot an engagement session yesterday and one of the images I delivered was this: … /lightbox/

I chose the composition because it had strong leading lines and a frame within a frame. However, my client commented that they were "too small in the picture" which I could understand. What could I have done to give this image more impact without sacrificing the composition?

You say "engagement ",    I could give all sorts of reasons why,  I would not have shot this.      Engagement you say,     now be ready for the shock when the newspaper bride page crops it down to the couple..
      Good try,  but remember what business you are in...

Jan 02 13 01:50 am Link


RKD Photographic

Posts: 3265

Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Shots like this look good in your portfolio and help attract customers, so keep shooting them, but remember to go close for the couple who just want to see their happy, smiling faces.
You're there, they're there, so shoot it both ways or more if you have time.
Our standard brief for reportage (not just weddings, but 'everything') was always: shoot wide, medium and close, high, middle and low.
Get those shots in the bag before you go 'arty'...

Jan 02 13 02:02 am Link


moving pictures

Posts: 679

Los Angeles, California, US

Illuminate wrote:
The OP's shot is good but only fails because the subjects were staring at the camera position...I bet if he pressed them that would be the area of concern. What they "wanted" was to be the focal point of the image...not a supporting prop.

In other words, they don't care about the composition, they care about themselves.  First.

Jan 02 13 06:53 pm Link


Zack Zoll

Posts: 6420

Glens Falls, New York, US

The idea that you can have 'correct' composition OR an image with 'soul' is a complete myth, perpetuated almost entirely as an excuse by people with poor composition.

As others have said, the problem is not your shooting - it is in remembering what you're being paid for, and doing that.  You can do both with your own work, but for paid work they come a distant second and third to making sure the client is big and visible in 90% of the images.

Jan 03 13 08:34 am Link


M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12117

Tampa, Florida, US

Clients don't give two hoots about a photographer's artistic vision. They care about if you are skilled enough to produce THEIR artistic vision. A big part of that is knowing your client and what they want.

An engagement couple isn't interested in seeing how artistic the photographer is. Their primary concern and objective is receiving shots that represent them well...that they can share with others who will say "Oh, you two look so beautiful..." Not, "Wow, I like what the photographer did with that unique composition."

The attitude that "Hey, you hired me because of my artistic vision and that's what you're getting" is a bit arrogant and won't win many future clients.

But the two aren't mutually exclusive. It's possible to achieve their primary goal AND do it artistically. That's the carrot. But you don't sacrifice the client's needs to satisfy your own vision or ego.

Jan 03 13 08:57 am Link