Composition is a key component of making photographs. We all know about the rule of thirds, placement of subject matter, etc. but how many of us really think about what we will be doing with the shot after the shutter is pressed? There are different types of composition practices for different uses of the image.

Red Fox on Mount Rainier

~ click image to enlarge ~

When I’m out shooting a subject, I regularly include a few frames of my subject that will include blank space in my shot, preferably with little detail or an out of focus area for text. This is known in the design and publishing industry as copy space. Copy space is an area in an image left blank intentionally for the purpose of adding text or other elements in a design or publishing project. Commercial photographers know and shoot for this. It is very important for stock photographers and absolutely essential for media photographers. If you think about it – most of every two-page magazine spread is the perfect example of this when an image is spread to take up most or all of both pages. Nearly every memorable magazine featured article I can think of uses a strong story-telling image with enough copy space for at least the title and author of the article. It is also seen in nearly every advertisement, publication and commercial, and anywhere else where you see graphics/photography and text together.

Stock photography has become very important to me in recent years in my work as many of my clients are web designers or publishers who are looking for images that are a little higher in quality than your usual microstock agencies. Knowing how to compose shots for a variety of purposes when out shooting is often the difference between a day with no calls and a paycheck. For more information on my library of available stock images - click here.

Rich Leighton
November 14, 2011