What Ikea taught me about Composition…

What Ikea Taught Me About Composition

You enter the sliding doors and are instantly greeted by a nice lazy escalator begging you to jump on and take the ride, you get to the top and ahead of you lies the worlds simplest but longest maze. There is only one way in, and one way out and no opportunity to take a wrong turn. This is a perfectly crafted trap and before you know it you find yourself wandering through endless corridors of stuff that you would never have taken the time out of your day to have visited in the first place, and the scary thing? You actually end up enjoying it! Thanks Ikea, I needed an avocado holder and a plastic pot plant. But what’s this got to do with photography you ask? Everything. A great image captures your attention and directs your eyes exactly where it wants them to go, it sucks you in and doesn’t spit you out until you’ve experienced everything the artist wanted you to see, so today I share with you my 3 steps to achieve the ‘photo trap’.

3 steps to make a ‘photo-trap’:

1. Identify the key subjects in your frame and any leading lines you can use to control your viewer visual path

2. Reposition your shot and framing to ensure that there are as few as possible intersecting lines which could divert your viewers attention between main subjects.

3. Once you’ve taken your shot, ask yourself (and be brutally honest), where does my eye go first? Then where? Then where? Then where? Draw a line with your finger around the frame following the path your eyes took. If you find your eye wandering off to the edge of the frame then re-adjust your composition eliminating the distraction or including another element to keep your viewers eyes on track.

Below I’ve mapped out a couple of my photos for you to see these concepts in play.

So there you have it, Ikea is great for more than cheap furniture and (delicious) sweetish meatballs! By following these three steps and consciously asking yourself these questions you train your brain to start seeing these connections between subjects automatically. Over time this simple practice becomes second nature and whilst some people are born with ’an eye for it’, I definitely believe you can develop it, but sometimes it just takes deliberate practice and a little inspiration from our Swedish friends!

Like the cut of my jib? Be sure to share this tutorial with your photography compadres and be sure to sign up to my weekly tutorials below! If you’re a fellow Melbournian check out my Photography Courses and Workshops page and spend some time with me seeing the world through different eyes!

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