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Which is More Important in Photography, Lighting or Composition?

Lighting and composition are two of the most fundamental elements of any photography. But, which plays the biggest role?

It’s first important to note that no great shot focused purely on one without the other. For a great, impactful image, you need strong composition and strong lighting. This question by Manny Ortiz is focused on the weight of each of these elements instead. 

It’s difficult to pick one over the other, but if I reframe the question slightly, I think I can answer it. For example, if your image had to have excellent light and average composition, or excellent composition and average light, which would you choose? There’s not a great deal in it, but I’d lean towards excellent composition. Creating great light is something that every photographer focuses on from early on in their time with a camera, whereas composition can often be neglected. The issue is muddied for me when I think about street photography, which often incorporates great light into the composition, and that undoes a lot of the interesting discussion to be had!

Do you think light or composition is more important to photography, keeping in mind that they are both unambiguously crucial. Does one edge ahead of the other for you?


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