Time Magazine notes in a year-end piece about photojournalists often travel together covering the same events because of convenience and safety.

Sometimes that doesn’t end well as we learned this year with the deaths of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros during an attack in Libya.

An earlier marker was the deaths of Larry Burrows along with Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto, when their helicopter was shot down while covering the Vietnam War.

Also interesting is how the difference of inches, sometimes the width of a body, or less, radically changes the  composition of the compared photos.

Above is a simple photo of a butterfly landing on flowers with a raging forest fire spewing smoke as a backdrop. Jae C. Hong’s photo, the one on the right, places the flower and butterfly against the more open sky and the horizon line at the bottom. The result, to draw your eye to the butterfly, is more effective than Djansezian’s photo where the same flower and insect are lost against the darker background.

Remember this the next time you’re struggling through the viewfinder with composition. Sometimes it’s a matter of inches in any direction that can complete a composition and make a better photo.

compostion changes with slight adjustment in your position

As I was shooting the feature above, I must have looked quite crazy as I side-stepped and squatted along the walkway in the park across the street from the hedge trimming. I’m sure she wondered what exactly was going on although the presence of several cameras around my neck and on my shoulders gave her a great set of clues.

I watched for background changes as she worked the length of the hedge and adjusted my position to eliminate the bright background spots that would have distracted from her as the center of interest.

When almost moved into what I thought was the best position for my photo when she stopped, looked at the trimmer, and walked away. She’d accidentally cut the only extension cord she had.

Her trimming and my feature hunt ended at the same time.

I I hadn’t been working to find the best position for each frame I fired, even the ones I wasn’t confident about, I might have missed this photo.

Trying to get the best possible composition for each frame is essential. It sometimes can be a matter of inches.