Assignment 5 Composition Ideas

As I have blogged previously, for my last assignment I intend to do a couple’s photoshoot, with LOVE being the core theme. In preparation for this, my tutor suggested looking at some classical paintings for composition ideas and some contemporary photographers who in turn have taken influences from these kind of paintings.

One of the most influential paintings on love is Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ as seen below. The man is wrapped in a blanket, and is kissing the woman in what appears to be quite a passionate manner. Whilst the blanket is only wrapped around the man in this image; it has given me a compositional idea to use a blanket in an image to join a couple together. The blanket works as a metaphor to symbolise the union between two people in love.


Gustav Klimt the kiss

In the images below I have shown how contemporary photographers have also used the prop of a blanket in composition to emphasise the love between a couple; as shown in Gustav’s passionate painting. I adore this idea, and definitely plan to use this idea in my final assignment.





Another two classical paintings are Pierre-Auguste Renoir ‘Dance at Bougival’ (first image) and Pierre Auguste Cot ‘Springtime’ (second image), as shown below. The simple embrace between the couples in the paintings below is truly beautiful. The idea of using different embraces to provide a variety of different images in a photoshoot is a strong idea that I plan to use. Small adjustments to a couple’s embrace or expression can change a photo dramatically.


Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Dance at Bougival


Pierre Auguste Cot springtime

Compositionally, the paintings above show how a small embrace can show so much love in a photo. The images below show how contemporary photographers have taken this theory on board.





This stunning painting entitled ‘Dance in the city’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir provides me with a great compositional idea of having a couple dancing in my shoot. The simple pose gives off such a strong feeling of love and togetherness, so I feel that this pose would certainly strengthen my theme of love.


Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Dance in the city

Below are a few photos showing how contemporary photographers use dancing in couples shoots. I feel that there are a lot of benefits of this idea while shooting. Getting the couple to dance together will certainly help them to relax in front of the camera, and is a great way of loosening them up at the start of the shoot. It also helps to capture them having a little natural fun together- bringing out their personalities and their true connection as a couple.




tlaw photography

The final painting that I am taking inspiration from is ‘Sunset’ by Norman Rockwell. This quirky painting shows the strength of simply capturing the couple from behind. The ‘unknown’ effect creates mystery, and also further evokes a sense of closeness, as the two characters in this image sit alone together, watching the sunset.


sunset norman rockwell

Below are a couple of photos by contemporary photographers who have used the concept of capturing an image of the couple from behind to add interest and variety to a shoot. The images give a real natural effect, and provide a quiet-romance which is the real strength of these shots.




Another element which I am taking from Norman Rockwell’s painting is the strength of composition through using a bench in an image. The bench acts as a vital prop which brings in a whole variety of options for poses and varying compositional ideas. This is a great tool which I intend to use during my shoot if the opportunity arises. Below are a few photos taken by contemporary photographers which show the vast variety of ways in which a bench can be used in a couple’s shoot. We see in image two that the photographer has used a similar set up to Rockwell’s painting, by capturing the couple watching the sunset from a position behind the bench. All the ideas below are strong compositionally, and are great ideas for my pending assignment.





(1) NERET, GILLES, Gustav Klimt: 1862 – 1918, (page 1), [Accessed 20/02/13]

(2) THE MCCARTNEYS PHOTOGRAPHY (2012), Winter Wisconsin Engagement on Film, Available from: [Accessed 20/02/13]

(3) SARAH K BYRNE PHOTOGRAPHY (2011-2013), Winter Snow Engagement- Suzy and Esteban, Available from: [Accessed 20/02/13]

(4) CORBIS IMAGES (2002-2012), Detail of Dancing Couple from Le Bal a Bougival by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Available from: [Accessed 20/02/13]

(5) WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (2013), Pierre Auguste Cot – Spring, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(6) BLUE LEMON PHOTOGRAPHY (2012-2013), Outdoor Couples Portraits, Available from: [Accessed 20/02/13]

(7) GRACE PHOTOGRAPHY (2012), Conor and Maura- A City Wedding, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(8) PAINTING SELECT, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(9) OWSP PITTSBBURGH FAMILY AND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY (2010), Ashley and Trey Downtown Winter Shoot, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(10) TLAW PHOTOGRAPHY (2013), Dancing in the Dark, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(11) BRIDAL MUSINGS (2013), Lauren Fair Photogrphy, Travel Themed Engagement Shoot- Love is an Adventure, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(12) HUMANITIES WEB.ORG (2013), Sunset, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(13) THE WEDDING CENTRAL (2012), Kiran and Ankur Central Park Engagement Photos : Part 2 : Romantic afternoon, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(14) PIERS CUNLIFFE PHOTOGRAPHY (2010), Long Lens Candids, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]

(15) GOT LOVE HERE (2010), Romantic Tips, Available from: [Accessed 20/12/13]


3 thoughts on “Assignment 5 Composition Ideas

  1. Pingback: Assignment Five: Write-up | Hans Photography

  2. Pingback: Assignment Five- Personal Project | Hans Photography

  3. Pingback: Module Reflection and Evaluation | Hans Photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s