How-To: Tilted Compositions

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#16 FiveRings on 9 years ago

Apologies, I've been out of town and still catching up from the weekend.

It seems people are taking issue with the fact that I called it "lazy". I never said tilting was bad and I think when done right, it can be used to great effect.

I take issue with those who rely on it as a default for composition. This is an extreme example and I hate to point at anyone who isn't here to defend themselves, but looking at this person's gallery ([url][/url]), over half their photos are tilted, most are done seemingly without reason. And since Hexlord was brought up, I want to say that I think most of his photos are great. He makes great use of natural light where possible. But his inclusion of a default tilted shot in all his shoots seems unnecessary because those shots are already compositionally strong. Adding the tilt doesn't add anything to the image and more often, detracts from an already good image.

Again, when done right, a tilt can be a strong composition. The point of this thread is to show what it is about a tilted image that makes it good, so you're not just tilting for the sake of tilting. One particular image from Bruce stands out:

Original: [url][/url]

This image is great and here's why:

Overlay: [url][/url]

Sorry for cutting up your shot, Bruce. This is the image overlayed with a grid and diagonal composition lines based on the golden ratio/golden triangle. Everything seems to just fit. It follows the things that I mentioned pretty well. Though the columns behind her are supposed to be straight, they're not grounded and so it could just as well be beams across the ceiling so there is no distinct up/down. Good use of Triangles + good diagonal composition = good shot.

[QUOTE=Access]I think the folly here is the people who believe that there are such things as rules or standards for taking photos. The modern photographer can afford to experiment, at no expense whatsoever: it costs him no more to take five shots and throw away four than to take a single shot. There's so much downtime at photoshoots that experimentation doesn't really hurt anything. With so many photographers out there, and plenty of good ones too, it's important to be able to differentiate oneself from 'the pack'. Whether it's an off-handed candid, a unique focus, or an experimental shot that just happened to work right. People who over-think things or try to always stay within the rules, it ends up destroying the spontaneity of photography.[/QUOTE] The "rules or standards" are there for all art, whether or not you choose to use them. As I said in the original post, these should be considered guidelines and not "rules". They're just there. They've always been there. And you can do great stuff with or without them. Knowing them simply gives you more tools to work with.

#17 Access on 9 years ago

there. They've always been there. And you can do great stuff with or without them. Knowing them simply gives you more tools to work with.[/QUOTE]
The point is that you can do both. You don't have to make a choice to make a choice to use them or not. If you are using dead time to experiment, no one really loses anything.

On the subject of tilted shots, another point people sometimes miss on these online sites is that the picture is made to be viewed tilted, such that the scene is level. It's just a way of freeing up the boundaries of the picture, so they aren't necessarily parallel with the rest of the scene. Though it is posted online, it may be intended for a slideshow, a scrapbook, or the like.