|Photo Tips: Composition|
|Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:23|
Welcome to Naneu‚Äôs weekly Photo Tips article. Before I get into the technical aspects of photography tips, I wanted to start with off with composition. Composition is one of the most important aspects of an image. A poor composition will lead to a poor or uninteresting image. The composition of an image should be one of the first things on your mind while you are out taking photos.
The Rule of Thirds
In the world of art there is a rule that most artists employ when creating new work: the rule of thirds.¬†This is a simple rule that can help you to create better photos. Even though it is called a rule, it is more of a guideline and is not always the best solution for capturing a photograph.
To get through this tip I recommend that you keep your camera close to you. This will make it easier to explain the rule of thirds. I‚Äôll provide some images to help guide you in case you don‚Äôt have your camera nearby.¬†The easiest way to understand the rule of thirds is to visualize a tic-tac-toe board in your viewfinder. Now there are some cameras that will do this inside the viewfinder or on the LCD screen during their respective live-screen modes. If you are having a little difficulty seeing the grid, here is an idea of what it would look like:
I want you to line up your camera with the horizon in the dead center of your frame, half of the image being the ground and the other half will be the sky. Now take that photo. This first shot is not a thirds shot, but it will help you to understand the following concepts. Here is what it would look like:
After capturing that first photo I want you to recompose your image so that if you were to split the image into three equal parts, the ground would take up the bottom third while the sky would fill the top 2/3‚Äôs of the image. If you are visualizing a tic-tac-toe board, the horizon would sit on the bottom horizontal line. Once you have composed the shot, go ahead and capture it:
Now for the final shot I want you to reverse the composition of the photo that you just shot. What I mean by that is that I want the ground to take up the bottom 2/3‚Äôs of the scene while the sky takes up the top 1/3 of the image. If you are still visualizing a tic-tac-toe board, the horizon would sit on the top horizontal line:
Now compare the three photos that you‚Äôve taken. When you have the ¬†horizon in the middle of the scene, the image will appear to be boring compared to the other two images. When you move the location of the horizon down, you bring emphasis to the sky. You do this when you want to show off wonderful cloud formations, while still keeping anchored to the ground. Move the horizon up and the emphasis of the scene is the ground.
What happens when you have a tree on the center of the horizon?
Instead of leaving the tree in the center you can recompose your image to the left or right third, leaving the tree to sit at a crash point and while giving the viewer a starting point that will allow their eye to follow the rest of the image.
Another composition concept is leading lines. The best description of leading lines uses diagonal lines that lead the eye to a certain point of the photograph. Now these lines don‚Äôt have to overt and obvious to the viewer, they can be very subtle by just offering a hint of where the eye should be led. A leading line does not necessarily have to lead you to a certain part of a photo, it can work to lead you away from your focal point‚Äîin the sense that your focal point is the subject of the image.
Now the concept of leading lines can be used in cooperation with the rule of thirds. You can compose your shot so that a leading line is directing the eyes towards a feature that sits at one of the crash points of a photograph. Another Example is if you were shooting a portrait and had the subjects face‚Äîmainly their eyes‚Äîlooking in a certain direction. The leading lines in this case would be the ¬†line created by the direction that the subject‚Äôs eye is looking.
Rhythm and Repetition
I group these two ideas together only because they work best together. The concept of repetition is a fairly easy one to understand and is best seen in photos of fence posts, traffic cones, and while looking at mirrors that face each other. From its word, repetition is going to be something that repeats itself or follow a particular pattern.
The idea of rhythm can come in the break of that pattern. In a photo where traffic cones are lined up and spaced equally, rhythm is created by removing a cone, or replacing one of the cones with a significantly smaller or larger cone. Even a different color can add a sense of rhythm to a photograph.
Every photo that you take doesn‚Äôt have to fill your frame with the subject matter. The negative space of a photograph can be just as interesting as the positive space. Negative space is also another composition tip that works well with the rule of thirds: place a minuscule object into your frame and allow the negative space to tell the story of that subject.
Now I know that the images in this article are not real photographs, but this was the way that I learned how to visualize the concept. If you would like to see some photographs that illustrate the concept using real world images, go and check out the Flickr tag for the rule of thirds. Also be sure to search for the tags that cover leading lines, rhythm, repetition, and negative space.
I hope this post has helped you to better compose your photographs. The content provided here isn‚Äôt just for use with the more expensive DSLR cameras, it can be applied to all types of cameras from homemade pinhole cameras to consumer point-and-shoot cameras all the way up to medium and large format cameras, both film and digital. If this helped you, be sure to leave a comment letting us know. Also, share your images with us and everyone else by posting a link in the comments to where we can see them.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2010 19:59|