Vivian Maier – Composition Tips Part Six – Summary


1. Contrast between experiences – a bored subject contrasting with an excited subject. Accentuate the contrast by placing the two subjects on different planes.

2. Look for hopeful “Hail Mary” passes! Subjects that are overly hopeful or optimistic.

3. Spot reflections, frames & windows to include in compositions.





4. You won’t shoot enough to fill a book if you sit at home watching TV. Get out with your camera. Maier made her own luck by shooting often and always.


January 9, 1957, Florida


5. Find portals to another time.

6. Isolate subjects against plain, non-distracting backgrounds.

7. Capture subjects who have a suggested destination in mind in the frame.


Undated, New York, NY


8. Move your perspective – above, below, or behind the subject to capture a more interesting perspective.


Undated, New York, NY


9. Allow the “frame” into shot if you are looking out a window to give context.


Undated, Chicago, IL


10. Consider shooting subjects from the waist up to add body and clothing context to facial expressions.


Click here to read part one.

Click here to read part two.

Click here to read part three.

Click here to read part four.

Click here to read part five.

4 Responses to “Vivian Maier – Composition Tips Part Six – Summary”

  1. Good morning. I’ve learned a lot from reading your posts. I appreciate you explained to us why you liked each photo. Sometime we know we like it, but we couldn’t pinpoint why. Thank you! (I will come back to read them again and again. ) Helen



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