Collage Composition

This week in Visual Design class, I was prompted to create a collage composition. The composition had to be created with only original photos. Not only that, but the composition has to tell a story. What a difficult task!

The composition I created began with a photo I took years ago of Lake Bled, Slovenia. I figured this would be a great place to create a collage. I had laid on the ground to take this photo and there is an obvious separation of foreground and background here. The foreground is blurred, while the middle ground is crisp and the background is a bit blurry. I thought it would be fun to create a little story of miniature humans on the coastline here. The composition is quite asymmetrical, leaving plenty of space in the front and middle to place my subjects. I also noticed the only warm colors in the photo are of the castle. The roots are perfect leading lines that draw the eye to the castle and creating visual weight.

original photo
separation of foreground, middle and background and leading lines

I chose this photo because I knew right away I wanted to play with size. The size of subjects vs the size of the ground. I wanted to create something almost like Jack and the Beanstalk or Alice in Wonderland.

I started by adding the couple in the middle. They are walking with their pup to see the view. I had to imagine what scale they would be if the ground they were walking on was real. They needed to be crisp since they are right in the focus of my composition. I then added in the photo of the girls sitting on the edge near the boat. They are a bit farther away and a blurry. Next, I added the proposal couple (me and my fiancé!). Our photo is a little bigger than the middle couple and I had to flip our image around so the sun was in the right place. I was imagining in the overall composition that the sun was coming in from the top right corner. To fill the image I added in more elements of flowers, a tree, boats, and dogs.

composition with lines

I still needed a story here though. The composition was pretty, but what am I trying to say? So I added in the last subject, the girl on her phone. She draws the eye because she, like the castle, is the only warm color in the composition with her pink clothing. She’s the only person in the foreground, she’s alone and not looking at the view. What’s the story about her? Why is she alone? Why is on her phone? Is this a generational issue with technology? Is she missing someone? This I knew would be my story.

Overall I feel this was a good exercise in lighting, detail, and really paying attention to an overall composition. I usually have a good eye for separating images into thirds or having nice leading lines, but working on this composition made me break down every detail. I had to pay attention to where the light source was coming from, if the elements felt natural, and what story I was trying to tell. I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed creating this collage!

collage vs. original photo

2 responses to “Collage Composition”

  1. Hi Jacklyn,

    Wow! You are an amazing photographer. These images are beautiful and the whole piece was so thoughtfully put together. I think that your use of lines to separate the foreground, mid-ground and background along with the leading lines really helped you frame the photo and create a great balance within the composition. Also, I loved the feature that you included at the end of your post that allowed users to glide back and forth between the collage and the original. Very cool!


  2. Michael Bachmann Avatar
    Michael Bachmann

    Hi Jacklyn,

    Great composition! Your explanation of how you developed your composition was very detailed, and the composition itself is very well done. All of the elements complement each other nicely, and as you mentioned, the star of the story is the little girl. With the consistency of the story in the mid-ground, we can infer how she may be feeling. Small details like the reflections of the water add great value to the piece as well. Slovenia looks like a very beautiful place!


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