on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Composition – Introducing Flow

How the concept of flow affects composition

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Last issue I took a look at the concept of balance in composition. The second main concept that I want to cover is the concept of 'flow'. Flow describes the natural directionality in a  composition and it also describes the way the eye will flow around a photograph.

Firstly it may help to cover a few psychological/perceptual ideas that pertain to composition and how our eye moves around a picture. Research has shown that our eyes find it impossible to 'scan' smoothly across an area with no features. In fact our eyes cannot move smoothly at all, they jump from place to place in movements called 'saccades' and when our eye is focussed on one particular point, they can only see within 2 degrees. The only way we can build up a picture of the whole composition is by jumping from one place to another and 'remembering' the details of the whole.



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