Composition Advice - Jeff Levesque

Photography is a continuous learning and continuous improvement endeavor. The best camera to use is the one you have with you. Start simple and grow from there. Several folks who have seen my work have said things like, “You must have a really expensive camera!” That may be true, but there is so much more to it.


Learning from the masters...

"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams

"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." - Ansel Adams

"Ask yourself: Does this subject move me to feel, think, and dream?" - Ansel Adams

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand." - Ansel Adams

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs." - Ansel Adams

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." - Michelangelo

"A man paints with his brain and not with his hands." - Michelangelo


My best advice for aspiring photographers is to use my “FRESCO” method:

Fantasize – Before you turn on the camera, think about what you want to photograph. Gain inspiration from others who have produced photos that appeal to you. Visit new places and revisit places you’ve already been to. Challenge yourself to find more interesting subjects and compositions. 

Recognize – Learn your camera settings and know how to manipulate them before you start pressing the shutter button. Create basic settings as a starting point and be ready for quick adjustments in different situations. Be ready for anything. Most camera buttons can be customized to suit your preferences. See my Camera Settings section for more on this.

Emphasize – Every photo needs a main subject that is obvious to the viewer. If you have multiple subjects in a scene try to prioritize one at a time using different perspectives. Utilize light and perspective to bring the subject to life.

Summarize – Think more about outcomes and less about how to technically take the shot. Predict the placement of your subject, background elements, and other important details that will end up in your image.

Characterize – When possible, include elements in your images that add to the story and convey what it felt like to take the photo. Birds on a stick with a blurred background are nice but can get boring. Additional items like flowers, leaves, water, snow, etc. can add to the story your image is telling.

Organize – Separate the great photos from the good ones. Post-processing is necessary to enhance the results of your captures and make them the best they can be. Good photos can potentially become great photos with minor tweaks.