Tip of the Day – Juxtaposition

Tip of the Day – Juxtaposition

Composition using the juxtaposition of one element with another is something not often used in pet photography, as we’re often shooting in natural environments.

Juxtaposition is the technique of placing two contrasting, very different subjects in the same image. By emphasising the difference between the two, it draws attention to their unique characteristics. Sometimes it can even have the opposite effect and make the viewing think about the similarities they also possess.

In pet photography when working with multiple subjects, you could juxtapose a giant dog and a tiny dog, a black dog and a white dog, a hairy dog and a hairless dog. Anything, where there is a great difference between the two subjects, helps to emphasise those differences.

Alternatively, you can juxtapose a single subject with some other object in the image. In this shot of Lady Meatball (yes, her real name, translated from French!) in front of the enormous 2000 year old Roman Aqueduct spanning the River Gard in southern France, we instantly see the differences between the two main elements.

Huge and tiny, old and new, hard and soft, animal and mineral.

But we also notice the similarities – the similar tones and the arches echoing the shape of her ears and even the shape of her body. And of course, a French Bulldog in front of an historic French structure!

Though little used, juxtaposition can be a fantastic and interesting composition technique in pet photography.

Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 35mm ƒ/1.4L, ISO 250, 1/640 sec, ƒ/2⠀

This daily tip is tip 11 of a 13 part series called 13 Elements of Composition. To receive a new tip each day from this series direct to your email inbox, sign up below.

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