composition in photography – tilted compositions / Dutch angle
I am not a huge fan of tilted images, and I see it as an unfortunate visual ‘tic’ when I notice entire wedding galleries by other photographers where pretty much all the images are tilted at a very specific angle. That just means that little thought went into composition, and that composition and holding the camera has become a reflex action .. which just happens to include a 30′ tilt to the camera.
I tend to keep horizontal and vertical lines exactly that way … horizontal or vertical. But sometimes a tilted image just has more impact than one that is completely level. And it has been a “feel” thing for me. I never bothered to analyze why or when these images seemed to work better, since I have an aversion to over-intellectualized analysis of photography … and in this case composition. I feel that composition should be an instinctive reaction to the scene and subject.
But during a discussion at a photography workshop that I attended earlier this year, one of the attendees, (Rob Schneider), said something that immediately made sense to me and had quite a bit of impact on me since … that when an image has certain elements that fall along a strong perpendicular line, then a tilted image has a dynamic balance. Instead of things in the photo looking like they are about to topple over, there is an equilibrium.
When Rob said that, I went over the images we had taken over the course of the workshop and tried to see where it applied … and sure enough, my favorite images that had a tilt to them, had this kind of balance to them.
Look again at the image, and note how the model’s face, hand and foot all fall along a perpendicular line … and the composition which is quite dynamic, seems ‘at rest’.
other articles on composition in photography
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