digital photography tips on composition. framing your shots rule of thirds working the lines finding...
Digital PhotographyTips on Composition
Framing Your Shots Rule of Thirds Working the Lines Finding Fresh Angles Getting Horizons Horizontal Getting Your Images Straight Fill Your Frame Importance of Focal Points
Framing Your Shots Framing Your Shots Getting Backgrounds Right How to Use Converging Lines Four Rules of Composition for Landscapes How to Break the ‘Rules’ of Photography
Rule of Thirds
•The most well known principle of photographic composition
•The basis for well balanced and interesting shots
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image.
Rule of Thirds The theory is that if you place points of interest in
the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.
Studies have shown that when viewing images, people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points rather than the center of the shot - using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.
In this shot the subject is placed along a whole line which means she is considerably off center and therefore creates an additional point of interest. Placing her right in the center of the frame could have resulted in an ‘awkward’ shot.
What are the points of interest in this shot? Where am I intentionally placing them?
Working the Lines The lines that can be
found in images are very powerful elements that with a little practice can add dynamic impact to a photograph in terms of mood as well as how they lead an image’s viewer into a photo.
Horizontal Lines There’s something about
a horizontal line in an image that conveys a message of ’stability’ or even ‘rest’. Horizons, fallen trees, oceans, sleeping people - all of these subjects have something about them that speaks either of permanency and timelessness or rest.
Vertical Lines Vertical lines have
the ability to convey a variety of different moods in a photograph ranging from power and strength (think of skyscrapers) to growth (think of trees).
Diagonal Lines Diagonal lines generally work well to draw the eye
of an image’s viewer through the photograph. They create points of interest as they intersect with other lines and often give images depth by suggesting perspective.
They can also add a sense of action to an image and add a dynamic look and feel.
Consider how you might use diagonal lines to lead the eye to your photograph’s main subject or point of interest.
Finding Fresh Angles
One of the most effective ways to make your digital images more interesting to the eye is to change the angle that you’re shooting from.
Not only does changing the angle that you shoot from impact the feeling of size of your subject but it can have a real effect upon the light and shade and patterns on it.
You can see in the picture on the left that the patterns on the pineapple are more pronounced as a result of the angle it was shot from.
Getting Horizons Horizontal The simplest way to get your horizon
horizontal simply line it up with the top or bottom of your view finder.
Getting Your Images Straight This shot is
obviously off line if you look at how the bottom of the painting slopes towards the right in comparison to the bottom edge of the view finder.
Fill Your Frame
Fill Your Frame
Use your Optical Zoom - most point and shoot digital cameras these days come with a zoom lens.
Use your Legs - most photographers have a built in zoom in the form of their legs. Don’t just rely upon your camera’s zoom but actually position yourself effectively for close in shots.
Fill Your Frame Crop your Shots - the other option is to zoom in
manually at home after you’ve taken your shots. This is a handy option to have but I personally prefer to use one of the first two options where I can because cropping shots later means if you want a large image that you’ll find that it becomes more pixelated. This is a good option if you’re just trimming shots but any major cropping will result in a loss of quality of your image.
The Importance of Focal Points What is the central point of interest? What will draw the eye of the viewers of this
picture? What in this image will make it stand out
from others? What is my subject?
Focal Point The reason a focal point is
important is that when you look at an image your eye will generally need a ‘resting place’ or something of interest to really hold it.
Without it you’ll find people will simply glance at your shots and then move on to the next one.
Enhance Power of the Focal Point Position - Place it in a prominent position - you
might want to start with the rule of thirds for some ideas.
Focus - Learn to use Depth of Field to blur out other aspects in front or behind your focal point.
Blur - If you really want to get tricky you might want to play with slower shutter speeds if your main subject is still and things around it are moving.
Enhance Power of the Focal Point Size - making your focal point large is not the only
way to make it prominent - but it definitely can help.
Color - using contrasting colors can also be a way of setting your point of interest apart from its surroundings.
Shape - similarly contrasting shapes and textures can make a subject stand out - especially patterns that are repeated around a subject.
Focal Points Don’t confuse the viewer with too many
competing focal points which might overwhelm the main focal point.
Secondary points of interest can be helpful to lead the eye but too many strong ones will just clutter and confuse.
Framing Your Shots Framing is the
technique of drawing attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene.
Framing Sometimes framing can just add clutter to a
shot and make it feel cramped - but at other times it can be the difference between an ordinary shot and a stunning one.
Getting Backgrounds Right What is wrong
with this background?
Background Tips 1. Check your Background Before Hitting the
Shutter Release 2. Move Your Subject 3. Change your Shooting Angle 4. Blur the Background 5. Place Subjects In front of Open Spaces 6. Fill your frame with your subject 7. Make your Own Background 8. Use Photoshop
Four Rules for Landscape Photos 1. Diagonal Lines
2. Geometric Shapes
3. The Rule of Thirds Position key points of
interest in a landscape on the intersecting point between imaginary ‘third’ points in an image and you’ll help give your image balance and help those focal points to really capture attention.
4. Framing Images ‘Frame’ the shot
by adding interest to other parts of the edges of an image.
Rules are Made to Be Broken?
Of course while knowing the rules can be important - knowing when to use them and when to break them is a talent that great photographers generally have.
Practice these techniques - but don’t get so worked up about them that they kill the creativity that you have.
The End Let me finish with a quote about Rules of
Photography from Photographer Edward Weston to help give us a little balance on the topic:
“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. Such rules and laws are deduced from the accomplished fact; they are the products of reflection.”