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There are 7 different rules of composition… And here they are…
Rule No.1 – Leading LinesOne of the tools you can use as aphotographer to create ameaningful composition is to useleading lines. Leading lines areused to draw the viewer’s eyethrough a photograph. They areintentional or unintentional, naturallines created in the space of thephotograph and are used to createa visual narrative in thecomposition. Leading lines are alsoused to draw your eye to a focalpoint in the shot that you would liketo highlight.
Rule No.2 – Rules Of ThirdsThe basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imaginebreaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally andvertically) so that you have 9 parts. As you’re taking animage you would have done this in your mind through yourviewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame yourshot.With this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies fourimportant parts of the image that you should considerplacing points of interest in as you frame your image.Not only this – but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are alsouseful positions for elements in your photo. The theory isthat if you place points of interest in the intersections oralong the lines that your photo becomes more balanced andwill enable a viewer of the image to interact with it morenaturally. Studies have shown that when viewing imagesthat people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersectionpoints most naturally rather than the center of the shot –using the rule of thirds works with this natural way ofviewing an image rather than working against it.
Rule No.3 – Filling The FrameTheres an old adage in photography that says ifyou want to improve your photographs 100percent, move closer. Its true. The one sure way tokeep from including too much extraneousinformation in a photograph is to fill the frame withyour subject and nothing but your subject. Filling theframe from edge to edge leaves little doubt aboutwhat your intended target was. There are two waysto get closer: Use a telephoto lens or put somemore wear on your walking shoes.The simple act of making your subject bigger in theframe involves the viewer at a much more intenselevel. A chin-to-forehead portrait of an interestingface, for example, immediately puts the viewer eye-to-eye with your subject. A very tight shot of abear—even if you made it with a long lens at thezoo—creates breathless drama.
Rule No.4 – Framing The SubjectFraming is a technique used to enhance theoverall result of a photo and to draw attention tothe subject. Framing does not refer to physicalframes you put your photos into. Compositionalframing consists of using natural or man-madeobjects within the photo itself. There are endlesschoices when deciding on what to use as a frame,all you need is a little imagination and observation.When possible, a frame should correlate with thepoint of interest. For example, finding a gnarledpiece of driftwood that’s been washed to shorewould make an excellent natural frame for theocean.
Rule No.5 – Unusual Angles/ViewpointsA view angle can be used to createcompelling composition to a photo. Bychoosing unusual angle of view, one cancreate a composition that is something outof the ordinary. You often see photos offamous sights that are photographed fromthe eye level and straight from in front ofthe sight. Many photos are taken from themost natural location and view angle whichis of course logical. However, it means thatmany photos taken by different people fromthe same sight might look somewhatsimilar.
Rule No.6 – Depth Of FieldDepth of field is a characteristic of a camerathat can be used to enhance the photo. Thecloser the subject to the camera, themore shallow the depth of field.The longer the focal length, the moreshallow the depth of field.The larger the aperture (smaller the F-number), the more shallow the depth offield.It is important to understand how to affectthe depth of field in order to utilize it inimage composition. For example, thesubject of the photo can be emphasized byisolating it from its surroundings by using ashallow depth of field. Shallow depth of fieldis usually used in portraits and large depthof field is usually used in landscape photos.
And Finally, Rule No.7 – Symmetry/TextureA symmetrical shot with strong composition and a good point ofinterest can lead to a striking image – but without the strong pointof interest it can be a little predictable. I prefer to experiment withboth in the one shoot to see which works best. Images a twodimensional thing yet with the clever use of ‘texture’ they cancome alive and become almost three dimensional.Texture particularly comes into play when light hits objects atinteresting angles.
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