The Ultimate Guide to Composition – Part One: Just Say “No”keh

Chris Knight gets deep into composition looking at center composition, rule of thirds, golden triangles and golden spirals.


Composition – it’s perhaps one of the most important elements of photography. And with today’s technological marvels in lenses, it’s an even easier thing to forget – especially when bokehliciousis is so much more fun to talk about. Your composition is how you see – and that makes it infinitely more important than how out of focus the background is.

Obsession with bokeh is bad for your photography. There, I said it, and I know it’s not a popular opinion when there are a lot of people out there that drool over this very thing. Bokeh not only lets you obsess about something pretty insignificant, but it oftentimes makes for lazy composition. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston, Alfred Eisenstaedt. These were not photographers obsessed with the shallowest depths of fields – these were iconic photographers capable of producing iconic photographs built on the foundations of masterful compositions and superb timing. Forget f/1.2. Think about what’s around you, and use that to build a better photograph.

Keep in mind that these compositional “rules” are really just “guides” and don’t need to be followed to exacting precision (or sometimes even at all). Not every rule of composition can work well with every scene. Overall, composition helps to bring balance. And remember, as Tony Roslund says, the most important thing is talent. “All the other stuff is great, but it won’t help an otherwise shitty image.”

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Legally Speaking, It Depends – Film Festival Rules

Entertainment Attorney Christopher Schiller discusses the rules imposed by organizers in regards to film festival submission.


A brouhaha discussed among industry pundits was caused by the Toronto International Film Festival‘s director, Cameron Bailey’s gauntlet throw down statements a while ago. He in essence warned distributors and filmmakers that any submission to the TIFF that is not at least a North American premiere, will be sanctioned. The films won’t be shown during the prime slots of the first few days of the festival. The supposition by many is that Mr. Bailey was miffed by and was targeting the showings of TIFF touted “premieres” that had already been shown in the much smaller but maybe more prestigious Telluride Film Festival during the prior Labor Day weekend over the years. Telluride, to its credit as a long standing, boutique and unique film festival hasn’t officially commented on the issue.

The ripple effect, if any, is still to be seen but that doesn’t stop the prognosticators from speculating on how the statements and actions will change things. With the TIFF rolling out announcements of its selections for festival films from now until the actual festival, we’ll start to see who blinks. But what do all these film festival rules mean to the lowly filmmaker?

Ego plays, reactions and the filmmaker caught in the middle

It is a safe assumption to think that most successful film festivals have somewhere near the top of their management, a core of charismatic and opinionated leaders. It takes a strong character to will a film festival into existence out of nothing and keep it going against all odds. With that necessary character, often comes the unintended baggage of ego plays and power shuffling. I haven’t met a festival director or staff yet that didn’t think that their festival was better than others.

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