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  • Stephenie Hollyman

Yosemite Photo Composition 101

You arrive and immediately begin scoping out the situation to determine if you’re standing the right place to get the best composition. You look around. You scan the vast expanse of beauty before you and breathe in the fresh smells of pine. You check to see from which direction the light is shining and on what. Check out its quality, bright, golden or dull? It can make or break your photo.


You move to the right and then maybe to the left. You lean in and maybe tilt your camera’s picture plane. Don’t forget to get down on your haunches or even lie down on your belly, stretched out like a sniper. Maybe you want to frame the shot with something in the foreground to give a sense of scale to the magnificent vista.


At first, it may be a superficial read of the photograph you want to take. Now, start taking out the lenses that you packed so carefully in the morning. Maybe you want to share your sense of wonder? It’s up to you.


Do you want to compress the space with a telephoto lens? Or maybe shoot wide? Your goal is to create strong images that activate people’s imaginations. Just get shooting. That’s the beauty of digital photography: you’re not paying for film.


Finally, just a suggestion. Consider the ancient “Rule of Thirds”...a compositional technique that can make your photos more vigorous, dynamic and memorable. When you’re using the rule of thirds you place your subject along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds—both vertically and horizontally.


Learn more about photographing Yosemite! Buy my new eBook, A Photographer's Guide to Photographing Yosemite.


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