A Sense of Movement (Space to Move)

A sense of movement is an effective composition technique as it creates questions in the viewer’s mind or even a sense of unease. The key to a strong composition is to have space ahead, which is where the apparent action is going to take place.  These types of photographs also make for good storytelling.  As viewers, we like to be involved.  If a photographer presents a sense of movement nicely, we are able to participate in the process.  The story doesn’t end with the click of your shutter; instead, the story continues with your viewers.

A sense of movement can be implied by the gaze from a person’s eye in a photograph. The eye leads the viewer into space and we are left to wonder what the person is looking at – or even what they are thinking. What’s there or who is there?

We have a little suspense in this simple photo of the person who seemingly just landed in the water. With the swimmer facing away from us and looking into the darker area of the image, we get a feeling something isn’t right? What is he looking at we might ask? How is this achieved? There is space ahead of the person, which leads our eye to the dark ominous area, then we are left to guess.

This is a nice use of a sense of movement (or space to move) resulting in a strong composition.

What a great action image. The motorbike rider has flipped dirt into the air and the photographer has cleverly included this in the foreground. More than this, there is space to move for the biker. This lets our own imaginations run wild and we can make up our own story of what happens next.

Would this image be even stronger had the biker been positioned further to the left of the frame? Perhaps, but the image does have a strong composition and the photographer succeeds in producing a fantastic image.

There is ample space for us to fall right into this photo. This photo may be more interesting had the photographer tilted the camera a bit more tho’ the composition is still effective.

This classic urban image is one many of us can easily identify with. If you’ve been on a metro/subway station platform you know the feeling of 1) exhaustion after a long day and 2) the sound, feel and motion of a train passing by.

The man looking to the left gives us the notion that the train is moving right to left, or even the opposite if he is waiting to see the last train pull into the station.   The composition is good because there is plenty of space for our eyes to follow the motion. Well done.

At first glance, this is a fun photo. At second glance the trained photographic eye tells me the child better be careful or he/she will run right into the edge of the frame.

Yes, there needs to be more space ahead for this particular photo to be effective. One more element is not right about this photograph and that is the background. There is too much behind the jubilant child to distract the eye from what is important. The photographer should have minimized the area more. On the other hand, during a spontaneous moment, this is a good effort. 




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