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Composition: From Chaos to Order

You can edit this picture any way you like, and it will improve some, but it remains broken as far as composition is concerned. Does that mean this image is beyond repair? At first, I thought so. Then I noticed, that the four largest water lilies were arranged along a curve, so there was a way for the eye to move through the image, it just had to stop before it entered the messy part of the composition.

So, I cropped generously.

Starting to look better.

I had yellow parts in my image, so I wanted to complement that with blue. I managed to do that by removing the clutter at the top. Green is very dominant in this image and it also is completed by the magenta tones in some of the lily pads. Complementary colours in a picture are very appealing to the eye, if you’d like to know more about that, look into colour theory. I shifted the greens towards blue and the reddish/orange tones towards magenta to improve the colour contrast.

You might say, “that’s all nice and dandy, but the curve of flowers doesn’t lead anywhere.” And you’d be right.

However, it does lead to somewhere – the edge of the picture. Following the curve the human brain will now assume that this lake will continue past the edge – hence this effect is called “continuation”. It wouldn’t have worked with the clutter in the way, that’s why I removed it completely.

2 thoughts on Composition: From Chaos to Order

    • Indeed it is. The key to composition is that we “see” with our brains instead of with our eyes and the human brain is constantly looking for patterns and other clues, such as size, colour, contrast, sharpness etc.

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