Loophole – A Lesson in Composition

This is a lesson in composition using my photo, ‘A Loophole in My Dreaming’.

This is the original photo as I edited it.

Still-life-01-04

I started looking at this photo, and something seemed off about it. I realized I didn’t really like the way I cropped it. I thought to re-crop it because it wasn’t well composed in regard to the rule of thirds. It’s close, but it’s not quite there.

This is the photo with the cropping lines visible. As you can see, the bowl is mostly in the bottom third, but the window lines aren’t composed well.

Screenshot_SmartSelect_2017-06-12-17-03-25

Below is the photo re-cropped with the cropping lines again visible. I wanted to line up the lines with the window, but when I do this, the bowl of fruit is not perfectly in the bottom third, as it should be. In fact, part of the bowl is cut out of the frame.

SmartSelectImage_2017-06-12-00-57-29
Lined up with the window

In the view below, now the single apple is composed correctly, but now the window composition is off.

Screenshot_SmartSelect_2017-06-12-16-11-18
Apple is in the correct part of the frame

This is another option, but now the bowl is centered too much and takes up too much of the frame. Also, the window composition is still off.

Screenshot_SmartSelect_2017-06-12-16-17-42

This is a screenshot with some of my handwritten notes about the photo and what I would do differently.

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Even if I moved the bowl to the right, it’s possible the bowl would still have taken up too much of the bottom of the frame. Perhaps this is a shot that just wasn’t meant to be.


To be fair, I didn’t set up this picture. I was in someone else’s house and saw this scene. It looked like a nice still-life shot. However, given that I was in someone’s home, I would have rightfully felt rude if I took it upon myself to ‘adjust’ their bowl of fruit in the window to suit my aesthetic pleasure or, rather, the composition of the photograph that would come from the scene in their house.

At some point, I’m going to look back through some of the other images I took at the same time. There could be one among them that is salvageable, but I’m not sure.


All of this illustrates one of the things I’m learning about photography. Sometimes there is the opportunity for a better shot, a shot that was ‘available’. In this case, I may have missed it. What could have been can’t be unless there’s the opportunity to recreate the scene, which, in many cases, is impossible.

Without getting overly sentimental, it’s a good lesson for life as well as for photography. Accept what you have, make the most of it, and always strive to do better when the next opportunity arises. This isn’t only a lesson for anyone who may read this. It’s also a lesson for me.

Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!

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