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Get Organised

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I already talked about taking control and this is what this second phase is all about for me. I mentioned that it was important to get some control even in situations where you are mostly reacting to your environment or subject. We also of course have many situations where we have complete control.

I will split this into two areas. Organising your subject matter and composition physically, and organising/manipulating your light.

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Let’s start with the physical. So here I am referring to a bit of a list really;


  • Your Subject
  • Your Location
  • Your Position
  • Your Purpose
  • Elements
  • People/models
  • Equipment
  • What’s in/what’s out


I think most of those are self explanatory. Using the right mix to achieve what you set out to achieve. Selecting and organising equipment’s and content and making sure it’s all relevant to your end goal. This will be so varied depending on what you set out to achieve its impossible for me to express any clear guidelines. Besides, you want this to be your own right? Not what someone else directs you to do.

I will however talk a little about that last point in the list. What’s in/what’s out as this applies to most situations.

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By this I am going back a touch into composition. What you are allowing, or putting into your image must be relevant, it must not be a distraction or confuse the viewer. I accept, that in some cases, especially conceptual or surreal art we might introduce elements purposely to confuse, stimulate or create a tension. However, for most of those reading Lightism that probably isn’t relevant right now. So let’s carry on.  Think about isolating your subject initially, then think about what in that environment could add to the image? Maybe nothing? Maybe everything. Be selective, but be strict and don’t leave us [viewers] wondering or distracted, we will quickly lose interest.


I mean, can you imagine a great painter adding a random power line to a classic landscape, or a modern car into a timeless scene or even a portraitist painting in a clothing label into a beautiful portrait, just because those things were there. Leave them out, hide them, move them or move you. Busy backgrounds and unwanted details are distracting and dubious. When making a landscape image I often have to littler pick before I shoot it. It’s that attention to detail that you are working towards, really study what you have framed through the viewfinder and ‘tidy up’

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Put simply, “if it doesn’t add to the image, leave it out”


Here’s a another great article on the same subject:  If God was a photographer – Advanced composition

 all images copyright martin gillman 2014



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