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Michael Pilkington • Considering Composition

Your camera is a just tool. You control it, not the other way round. How do you use it to compose the best pictures? Michael Pilkington shares his views

Photography is simple and if we consider the process carefully, then it should never become anything else. For example, there is only one plane of focus, one exposure time and a single lens that we point at our chosen subject. The thing that makes it complicated is the choices at our disposal during this process, the most important being what we point the camera at.

I could write a lengthy tome about the benefits and complexities of camera settings but this subject has already been written about over and over again and if we are to become fluent as photographers, I believe this should become second nature – what our eyes see and visualise should directly inform this process. Camera settings should only be selected to collect the light in a given way, to control exposure and depth of field – nothing more.

The real challenge the photographer has is deciding what to make of the subject and what to consider. Without this skill we, in part, rely on the camera to ‘help’ us through this process, which of course it cannot! It is metal, circuits and plastic. It is simply an object or tool. Photographs are made with the eyes and one thing I have always taught is to ...

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About Author

Michael Pilkington

Michael Pilkington is a professional landscape photographer and co-founder of the Landscape Photography Workshop company aspect2i. He is principal lecturer of the Epson Print Academy and also teaches infrared and other aspects of landscape photography with aspect2i.

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