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Feb 25: Pursue your subject: 10 photography composition rules

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  • Feb 25: Pursue your subject: 10 photography composition rules

    Have you been drawn to a piece of art and wondered what is it about that particular piece that you love over any other? There are lots of reasons why you might be attracted, but the most likely reason is in the subconscious. Sometimes you’re drawn in by things you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s all about composition!
    In photography, it’s not just what you shoot that counts – the way that you shoot it is also important. Poor photo composition can make a beautiful subject look boring, but with a little thought, you can create a wonderful image from the most ordinary of situations. Don’t feel that you’ve got to remember every rule and apply them to every photo you take. Instead, spend a little time getting familiar with each one one of them individually and they’ll become second nature. You’ll soon learn to spot situations where the different rules can be applied to the best effect.
    Here are the top rules of composition to think about:
    1. Rule of Thirds – probably the most common rule you’ll hear about from photographers. Imagine that your image is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Try to position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, at the points where the imaginary lines intersect. This will add balance and interest.
    1. Balance – Placing your main subject off-center, as with the Rule of Thirds, creates a more interesting composition, but it can leave a void in the scene, which can make it feel empty. Try to balance the weight of your subject by including another object of lesser importance in the empty space.
    1. Leading Lines – When we look at a photo, our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way the viewer sees the image, pulling them into the scene and towards the subject. This gives the viewer a virtual journey through the scene.
    1. Viewpoint – The viewpoint has a tremendous impact on the composition of a photo. As a result it can greatly affect the message that the photo conveys. Rather than just shooting from eye level, consider shooting from high above, down low, from one side or the other, from afar, or close up.
    1. Background – The eye is great at distinguishing between different elements in a scene, but a camera will naturally flatten the image into a two-dimensional image. Pay attention to what is in the background, and try shooting at a wider aperture to add dimension to the scene.
    1. Symmetry and Pattern – We are surrounded by symmetry and patterns, both in nature and man-made. They can make for very eye-catching compositions, particularly in situations where they are not expected. Another great idea is to break up the symmetry or pattern with your subject to create tension or a focal point in the scene.
    1. Depth – Depth can be created in a photo by including objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background. Another way to create depth is by overlapping or deliberately obscure part of an object, in focus, or out of focus. Either way, the viewer will naturally recognize an overlap and mentally separate the layers, creating more depth.
    1. Framing – Sometimes, we all need a boundary. By using natural frames, such as trees, archways, or holes, you can isolate your subject and focus the main point of interest.
    1. Cropping – The crop of your photo can greatly change the mood of your overall image. An image at full crop can give the viewer a sense of the whole scene, while cropping in tight will result in the undivided attention on the subject. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your subject.
    1. Breaking the rules through experimentation – now that you know the rules, you can practice each of them and find situations in which each will work the best. You can also experiment and try new things. Try combining them, making your own, or throwing them all out of the window! It’s really about personal preference and having fun!
    Here are a few examples of the rules above:
    Rule of Thirds

    The challenge is to make a new layout using a photo that follows one of the first NINE composition rules above
    Now, for the rules...
    1. Pages must be created using 100% TDP Products and loaded in the gallery no later than midnight EST on February 28, 2015.
    2. Please link your gallery listing in this thread
    3. Link your comment in this thread in the monthly challenge tracker thread. You can find it here: February's Tracking Thread.
    4. Have fun!!!
    For my LO, I’ve decided to go with “fill the frame” I LOVE close-ups of my kids’ eyes and this one is no exception. I used Scotty Girl's All Geared Up kit.
    Last edited by Pamie; 02-27-2015, 01:30 PM.

  • #2
    Great challenge!! THanks for all the info!
    I chose this photo of my son which follows the rule of thirds and balance rules. His body is in the first third vertically and his eyes lay along the top third line horizontally. The palm tree provides balance in the right side instead of being empty space.


    • farrahjobling
      farrahjobling commented
      Editing a comment
      Great LO Francine! I love your used of the ROT and also the balance of having the tree on the opposite side. =) Thanks for playing.

  • #3
    I used the Cropping- fill the frame rule. We were at a busy bar in this photo & the background was really distracting! Thanks for the fun challenge & reminder of the 'rules' :D


    • #4
      I chose this photo of my daughter in her crib for its viewpoint and/or because the crib creates a natural frame in the picture.


      • #5
        LOVE your photography Hints Farrah! Thanks This is rule of thirds - but then I used the extra space in the photo - hope that is ok

        created using gorgeous goodies from creashens


        • #6
          Here's my entry for this challenge:


          • #7
            Here's my entry for this challenge:

            The rule of thirds is probably the first thing I consider when taking a photo, so here I had the stones at the start and end of the bridge on the thirds intersections and the eye naturally follows the leading line across the stones to the meandering pathway beyond.
            I considered balance for the actual layout with the frame being weighty on the left hand side yet all the elements are about 2" away from the outside edge.

            Last edited by Morwenna; 02-28-2015, 09:20 PM.