Creativity In Composition:
Capturing the Beauty of Vietnam

Creativity in Composition – Introduction

Creativity flows through each individual. We all see the world in our own special way and I’m lucky enough to have the privilege to be able to capture life as I see it.

Recently, I embarked on a Journey through Southeast Asia in the beautiful country of Vietnam. A country so full of character both visually and through its people, it was a great opportunity to experience a new culture as a whole and to use that momentum through the pictures I had taken. Intent is big in the shots you capture, whether it’s through external composition or the capturing of the human experience.

Example of good composition

Vietnam Reflections

The longer I was in Vietnam, the more I fell in love with the gritty urban look the major cities provided. The personality on display through the architecture made for great photography. The people though, added the character into those photos.

The hustle and bustle was something I had admired. Whether it would have been fending for families, or fending for themselves to make a sale, the people made it all an imagery package. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least, and I am definitely fortunate for my privileged life, but there is admiration for how you can truly live with just the basic essentials and live a fulfilling existence. That’s the beauty of it all, accomplishment is within the heart.

Now, when we’re adventuring alone we can focus on the beauty of our surroundings with no interruption. It’s from this that we’re able to witness and enjoy the composition of our surroundings.

What Story Are You Trying To Tell?

The creativity, now that comes not just from within, but from observation. when you’re preparing for a photo, you have to take a step back and focus on what’s in the frame. What’s the story here? What are the faces in the photo telling you? An expression can give you 101 reasons as to what the person is thinking. We are complex beings seemingly in a rat race at times, but everything is intention, just like the composition in your photos. So what story are you trying to tell?

I like to shoot with lenses around the 23-50mm range for street photography. For this trip, I mainly used two vintage lenses, the Vivitar 28mm f2.8 and the Helios 44M-4 50mm f2. I knew that both would add the character to compliment the surroundings (and who doesn’t love a vintage lens?)

If I know the location I’m staying in has picturesque landscapes, you obviously want to go a little wider. For the hustle and bustle of the city, you want to get in tight but from a distance. Remaining inconspicuous to your surroundings allows you to capture the ‘candid’ shots. Remember to enable the rule of thirds grid option in your camera’s internal settings (if it isn’t already defaulted.) The rule of thirds allows you to learn how to compose a frame to an optimal standard through the camera, the rest is up to your eyeballs and creativity. Not every shot is entitled to centre frame, add a dynamic look by layering your composition deeper and visualize how you can fill empty spaces of the frame to compliment the photo further.

Untitled 1.11.1

Enjoy the Visual Pistol

For god sake, don’t rush your shots!

Who cares if you’re holding up a few people for a few extra seconds, you’re trying to get the perfect shot here! I’d say 50% of people do appreciate someone who is in the zone, honing in on their craft and going for gold. This is especially true when you’re traveling, you’re never going to see these people again and your photographic memory can only remember so much.

Enjoy the memories as you remember them, and translate them into the visual medium. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t feel up to the task mentally, physically and most importantly creatively, then don’t force yourself to try to produce faux magic. Sometimes you just want to enjoy something for what it is, not everything has to be captured, just most things…..

Untitled 1.3.1 1 jpg

Hindsight Is A Bitch..

Untitled 1.8.1

I found myself many times making the mistake of not taking the camera out on my strolls on the initial day I’d arrive in a city. Throughout the trip, I never learnt. I’d walk around and see the photos before my eyes, the composition, the angle, the colour, the look and the urge…With no camera to capture! I knew that it would be a missed opportunity that would come back to bite me, as I probably would not come back in the same direction.

I urge any photographer reading this to MAKE SURE you get the camera out upon arrival anywhere and get shooting ASAP even if you’re feeling too tired or lazy. The reason for me to not shoot was to settle into the city the first day and admire my surroundings while soaking it all in. I’ve learnt now personally, to save that for the 2nd or 3rd day (if you have the flexibility.)

Listen To All the Advice You’re Given, But Take Your Own

Now, naturally, we like to claim that we are the originators of the methods, skills and ideas we are good at, but it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in terms of skill or popularity, you’ve been inspired one way or another. It’s absolutely necessary to have a reference point, it helps you to develop your own craft. We’re naturally striving to learn the things we’re interested in, so do not let your pride or ego get in the way of a lesson to be grasped. We are students of life at all times.

YouTube is one of your greatest friends. Also, study independent photographers and Filmmakers (even local!) for tips and tricks.

These are a few videos that I find informative:

More Snaps…

Untitled 1.10.1 jpg
Untitled 1.23.1

Speaking of Craft…

When I first picked up the camera properly around 2014, I was interested in landscape photography. Growing up, I really enjoyed writing short stories and was very much a child in his own world. My mum would wonder why I wouldn’t socialize with other kids and would wander off doing my own thing and exploring. I was curious about my surroundings, and still am to this day. My child-like imagination has carried into adult life and has helped with how I like to tell my stories through the visual medium, and in writing. This is why I began my film studies course, I wanted to hone in on my craft to not only use my skills behind the camera but how to tell the stories on it as well by learning how each department operates. Any photo I capture needs purpose, I look at everything I shoot from a cinematic standpoint.

If I could give any advice to beginners, particularly with run and gun street shooting, is to anticipate the movement in your frame and line them up in the rule of thirds method. You want the perfect balance between the static objects and movement within your composition, higher shutter speed to avoid blur (unless its at night, 1/60th is the absolute limit for an in-focus photograph without a tripod.) Rely on natural lighting during the day when in external locations, street lights at night.

Untitled 1.5.1 1


To wrap up, if I could leave you with words of wisdom from my recent journey. I realize that the world isn’t as big as you think it is, there are similarities everywhere in the world and as humans, we are conditioned to adapt to our surroundings. There is beauty to be explored and it is up to us as individuals how it is captured, whether it’s mentally or physically.

Life is too short to say no to trying new things, pick up the camera and go capture your stories for the world to see!

Much love,

Mel at IWS

iriswideshut 7984 eviewonder
Meletios Likouresis

Co-Founder | Producer | Cinematographer

Meletios Likouresis is a filmmaker who journeyed from rural Coober Pedy to bustling Adelaide to pursue his passion. He completed his Advanced Diploma in Screen and Media at the Adelaide College of the Arts in 2020 and draws inspiration from David Lynch. Mel is a lifelong learner, both in storytelling and the art of living, and he values firsthand experiences, seeking new adventures and savouring life’s simple joys. When not behind the camera, he finds inspiration in the world’s beauty and continues to chase his dreams where creativity and a thirst for knowledge meet in the captivating world of storytelling.

let’s chat

Have something in mind or want to learn what video could do for you?
Reach out using the form or our social media

Phone: (08) 8465 1712

Email: [email protected]

Similar Posts