Trying to get the composition right

Trying to get the composition right

Over the years I’ve been studying I’ve always thought that composition was a strength, but sometimes I find myself still trying to get it right.

For as long as I’ve been doing this so many people have told that I was good at composition. Perhaps it is just one of those things that people tell you and don’t mean it. I don’t know. There was one teacher who told me that I needed to work on it, but only one. So I don’t know if that really counts.

Having said all that I know I don’t always get it right. Recently I found myself struggling with an image. I took it a few weeks ago in the city, or rather down at Docklands when I was out taking photos with my friend Steve.

We ended up at the Seafarers Bridge. There is a spot that that has been closed off as they worked on parts along and under the area. Also very happy to see that the helipad was gone. I hate those things in the city. The helicopters make so much noise as they go and up and down the river.

The original image

I set up the X-T3 and XF10-24mm lens from Fujifilm up on top of Billy, my 3 Legged Thing tripod. I choose a spot that I thought would make a good composition. It looked good in camera. I attached my filter holder that had the Formatt Hitech Firecrest Ultra 10 stop filter and the .9 soft grad in it and set it for one minute. This is what I ended up with.

Trying to get the composition right

It is a bit underdone, but that is not something that ever bothers me too much. I didn’t want to blow out the clouds on the right, so it is a good exposure for me.

Post processing

Once I got the image onto my computer and opened it in Photoshop I still liked it. I liked the triangle shape of it. The bridge, and the rails for the ladder to the Yarra River. The work began, but as I went I realised that the composition bothered me. I really didn’t like all that grey in the bottom left. The concrete was messy. I couldn’t remove it completely, so I cropped it some.

Not a lot. I continued working on it, but the image still wasn’t working for me. I had my daughter come in and take a look. She agreed that something was off with it. So while she was there I tried a second crop.


That was it. The image for me just became so much more balanced. In my mind it worked. I loved it. It was done.

Here is the final image.

Trying to get the composition right

The triangle works better, the balance has been achieved. The focus is on the bridge, but the clouds and ladder helps fill space.


Never be afraid to try things. Go with your gut, if you think it is wrong, then try to work out why. Good luck.

Trying to get the composition right

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  1. I really like this composition. But even more I like the story behind it. For a lot of us, composition is our biggest challenge and the way you walk us through your struggle with the composition here is a big help. Thank you.

  2. What a difference between the original and final image. Stunning change. <3 I find that cropping is a wonderful asset for composition adjustments.

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