When reading the title to this blog, you were probably thinking, ‘not ANOTHER blog about the rule of thirds’, but if you get past this point you will realise that todays blog is not about your usual composition tips but rather the ones that will enhance your understanding of the difference between a good shot and an amazing shot. What you will find below are five secrets for creating a great composition.
1. Read it like a book
We are taught from an early age that in order to read we move our eyes from left to right in order for the words and sentences to make sense. When something is learnt at such a tender time in our lives, it becomes second nature. Because our brains are programmed in this way, we tend to use this habit in most things we do. This is the same when looking at a picture, the human brain will automatically ‘read’ the image from left to right. Bearing this in mind, one can compose an image in a way that keeps the ‘reader’ fascinated throughout your ‘story’.
Pay attention to what you are wanting to portray in the image. This can be done well by using your point of view. ie if you are wanting to make your subject look insignificant or powerful you would be shooting either above or below them. Another way of portraying this would be to fill your frame with your subject to give it more importance or to shoot a larger depth of field to make it smaller in comparison to something else in the frame. Shoot vertically to enhance tall objects or to emphasise height and shoot horizontally to emphasise width.
3. An Odd Number of Subjects
This tip is known as the ‘odd rule’ and is especially true in wildlife photography. The “Odd Rule” basically suggests that a composition with an odd number of subjects works far better than one with an even number. There is no steadfast reason for why this would make a better compostion but my guess is that it has to do with the balance, which is also needed for an image to have a better feel to it. An example would be when you are photographing a herd of impala, for arguments sake, try and experiment with taking photographs of even and odd numbers of them and figure out which image ‘sits’ better with you.
4. Crop with Care
Keep an eye on what is being excluded, including less is not always beneficial, try and tell a story and leave out things that dont add to that. Decide what story you are trying to tell and use the subjects available in order to do that. Bear in mind that you can always crop slightly in the editing process and that sometimes an image works best when there is more context shown, than less…
5. Guide the Viewer
Use leading lines to guide the viewer’s eye where you want it to go or to create an impression. Curves in a road, for example, can create an understanding for the viewer as to where the subject is going to or has come from. These lines can be made up from just about anything you see through your viewfinder: the curve of an animal, branches from a tree or an unusual shape on the horizon. See below for a couple of examples…
What other composition secrets would you add to this blog? Please leave your thoughts and comments in the section below…
Written by Kate Neill