California black oaks after a snowstorm, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

California black oaks after a snowstorm, Yosemite Valley. With forest scenes, it’s important to find as much spacing and separation between tree trunks as possible.

If light is the most important element in photography, composition is just a whisker behind. They’re both essential, and can’t be completely separated: a good composition has to take lighting into account, and you can’t think about light without considering how the light complements the subject. I already highlighted my post from last January about creating depth, but I also wrote three more posts this year about composition.

I’ve seen many otherwise excellent photographs ruined by a visual merger between important elements of the composition. When Separation is a Good Thing explains how to become conscious of these mergers and avoid this problem.

In Courting Luck, Part 2: Adapting Your Composition to the Conditions, I talk about what why I think it’s more productive to keep your compositions fluid and flexible when the light is changing quickly. And What’s the Least Interesting Part of This Photograph? is an exercise to help you tighten and strengthen your compositions.

— Michael Frye

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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.