Don McGowan on Composition

(Bullet points from presentation to CCoH on March 22, 2016)

photo by Bob Coffey


Elements: Line,Shape, Form, Pattern, Texture, Color

Principles: Balance, Relationship, Contrast, Simplicity, Rhythm, Motion/Flow, Unity/Cohesiveness


Thou Shalt Not (at least most of the time):

  • Bull's-Eye the Subject
  • Place the horizon in the middle
  • Place the horizon on an angle
  • Introduce distracting elements
  • Create an image in inappropriate light
  • Introduce camera movement ( unless you are panning or want intentional blurring)
  • Create an image with inappropriate focus
  • Create an image with  inappropriate depth-of-field
  • Create an image with a confusing or unclear subject
  • Create an image lacking in emotional impact

And always keep in mind the words of Kenyon Cox, "Without design you may have representation, but you cannot have art."


Don McGowan

EarthSong Photography

(828) 788-0687