A sequence of composition

After using previous exercises to learn and consider the composition of my photography, this exercise was designed to put some of this in to practise out in the ‘real world’. Whereas in the previous exercises I have only been encouraged to show the final images or image, this time I am asked to present my workings and thought process by showing how I arrived at my final image. I will do this by way of taking a series of different shots all working towards one goal. That of the final image. The exercise needed to involve photographing a public event in a real ife situation so that the nature of the exercise became a little more unpredictable than than previous ones. I chose to shoot in a market. This gave me the ability to have many sources of possible sequences all happening on top of each other. Various questions and positives arise from this situation such as; How do I choose the right sequence? What if I miss a better sequence while concentrating on different scenario? If I do miss one sequence there is opportunity to shoot another almost immediately.

All the shots were taken in a market with an 18mm-55mm lens at ISO 800 to accord for the low lighting conditions. They are all straight from camera with no adjustments made. I will start with the first rejected sequences.

Sequence one

Western Women

This looked a promising novelty shoot as the women were clearly on some sort of walking tour.

Western Women

As I got closer I could tell they were engaged in what was being said. However, the woman with camera on the left of frame, had spotted me shooting.

Western Women

It soon became clear that my presence there was not really wanted. I was asked, in no uncertain terms, to leave them alone. So I moved on.

The second sequence that I rejected is below

Reject sequence – 1

The fish stalls were looking quite busy which attracted me to this shot.

Reject sequence – 2

The stall worker was weighing fish for a customer. In the background the men are preparing the fish.

Reject sequence – 3

I quite liked this shot but wanted more detail of what they were doing.

Reject sequence – 4

I like the concentration on the man’s face and the deft way in which he was using the cleaver.

Reject sequence – 5

I love the pink flesh of the fish.

Reject sequence – 7

The colour of the meat leads me to my final shot. I’m not too fond of the final shot as it doesn’t really show the speed and precision this guy was using with his cleaver at filleting this fish. I would probably have wanted more of his hands and fish in frame too. The framing is a bit too tight. I moved on, now having a clearer idea of what I wanted to achieve.

The final sequence


I decided to look for a suitable fish stall to shoot by walking up to the 2nd level and looking down on the market.


I was attracted to this stall by the soot and smoke coming from the shrine above the fish.


I moved downstairs to get a closer look.


The stall was busy with some nice interaction with the customers.


I asked the owner if he minded me shooting. He was worried about his hair and beard looking OK. I said he looked great, so he agreed to let me shoot.


In taking the photo of the woman ordering her fish I notice the guys in the background preparing the fish.


I am tucked relatively close by now but still have one of the men’s back in my way, so need to move accordingly.


I also notice the cleaver that is now embedded in the chopping board.


By now I am at a decent angle to take without any obstructions and quite like the baskets in frame which give some context.


I am low and close enough now to take close photos of them gutting the fish but still have something obstructing my shot.


I raise my elevation just a little to adjust for the obstruction.


The precision with the cleaver is clear but the shot is very static and not expressing the speed at which this guy is working on the fish.


The final shot shows the fish as it is split open in order to gut it and also captures some of the speed he shows in doing it whilst still showing how accurate he is being.

A very enjoyable exercise to do and think about. I retrospect the thought process was quite clear in the end version and the previous false starts helped me to focus more clearly on what I wanted to achieve.

All photos were taken on location in Tekka Market and the full size versions can be seen on Flickr.

2 thoughts on “A sequence of composition

  1. Pingback: Your own workflow 2 | BA Blog
  2. Pingback: Tekka Market – Little India | BA Blog

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