Breaking Plates

To a photography beginner, composition can seem daunting. It straddles art and craft unlike any other aspect of the medium.

Without overstating, I can say that it’s foundational.

In the old days of film, when materials were expensive, there was an even greater emphasis on composition. That’s diminished a lot in the digital realm. Cropping after the fact with high-resolution cameras obviates what used to be critical.

This is neither good nor bad, just a change with the times.

For commercial work, it makes sense to shoot wide and arrange later. Even that has been taken to the extreme with clients demanding additional “plates” or side, bottom and top frames for future composites. This Frankenstein approach renders predictable results.

Rules, like plates, sometimes need to be broken.

This portrait created in St. Pete Beach, Florida is shown in its entirety. What you see is what you get.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.