Hello there! I’m Candy, and I’ll be sharing some photography tips to get you shooting. Spring is here, and it is time to put that camera to work!
For our first post, let’s jump right into composition. We’ll talk more about equipment, locations, technique, etc. soon, but hopefully, this post will get you thinking and excited to try it out for yourself.
Rule of Thirds
There is general composition guideline called the rule of thirds that can be applied to many visual arts.
The quickest way to describe it is to imagine that your camera’s viewfinder is split into 9 equal parts – two horizontal and two vertical lines.
Not confusing at all, right?
Here’s a visual since I learn much faster that way myself.
The idea is to compose the image so that your important elements are either on the lines or at the intersections.
Think about it the next time you watch television or view a painting: the action is rarely in the middle.
More often than not, the person or thing that is the focus is off to one side. If the image is a closeup, then typically the eyes will fall close to an intersection.
Check out these images. The image on the right is more interesting and dynamic, even though there is no movement implied. It draws you in much more than the image on the left.
Check out the same images with a Rule of Thirds grid on top to see where the focal point (eyes) is.
Now, if want something a little more exciting, then the Golden Ratio is another composition tool with basically the same end.
The idea with this cool nautilus type guide is to position your focal point within the golden rectangle at the curved end of the spiral.
Turn it around and/or flip it in any direction, and the golden rectangle is roughly the same as the intersecting points on the rule of thirds grid.
FYI-The Golden Ratio (or Golden Mean or Fibonacci Spiral or Divine Proportion – whew) has mathematical and philosophical purposes that I don’t begin to understand.
And again on the same images.
With all that said, sometimes rules are made to be broken. Art is subjective, and the Rule of Thirds is like many other photographic lessons: Learn it, use it, and break it when you feel it’s justified.
So, as you’re shooting, remember these guides to think of different compositions. Happy photographing, and let me know if you have questions or topics you’d like to see covered.
Candy Howard is a bookworming, movie loving, stuff making, wannabe dancing queen. See also: newborn, maternity & child photographer since 2003.