Hello hello! You may have noticed that I missed last Photo Friday. Sorry I suck! Except not really because I was in NYC and it was pretty awesome. Anyway, I’m back with a new lesson today…and this should be useful to anyone, not just those of you with SLR cameras. Yay! Hope that makes up for the missed post. Also, I’ve decided to separate my lesson posts and photo posts…it just makes the posts too long to put them together. So, from now on I will share the photos I take using these lessons in “Bits + Pieces” posts with lots of photos and maybe some personal ramblings about them for your viewing/reading pleasure.
Today we are talking about composition. Composing a great photo is something you can learn about and improve on constantly…lots and lots of trial and error. I did a bunch of reading and decided to throw together a short list of a few points about composition that seem useful, and that I’d like to keep in mind as take photos this week. I’ve also included a couple links to the sites I read with each point so you can read more, should you feel so inclined.
Avoid the Middle: The middle is boring. You’ve probably heard of the “Rule of Thirds.” This was one of the first things that came up when I began my research. Basically, divide your image into thirds, and position the subject in the left or right third of the composition. Most of the things I read said to avoid the middle, but also not to be a slave to the rule of thirds. It seems like it is a good thing to learn about and understand – once you understand it you can break it in a way that still works.
Creating a Single Point of Interest: Here are some ways to bring the focus to your main point of interest – eliminate distracting elements from the frame, use a wide aperture to blur out other details (learn how to do that here), make use of color, use leading lines or negative space to direct attention to it, break the pattern, create contrast, make the point brighter…there are lots of ways to do it! But it is important to know what your point of interest is and really think about how you can make the viewer see the image the way you want them to.
Use White/”Free” Space: This one is also one of the tips for drawing attention to your point of interest, but I thought it was a good one to talk about specifically. They describe it well on “Here Comes the Sun” Blog: “If you have a subject who is pointing to the right, then give the composition a lot of free space on the right side. If your subject is looking up, then allow the free space to happen above them. Think of it as leading your viewers eyes and emotions where you want them to go."
Leading Lines: This is also helpful in defining your point of interest. Use lines (such as roads, telephone lines, etc) to draw the eye towards your subject.
Make Use of Framing: This is exactly what you think it is! Find a natural frame to make your photo more interesting and draw attention where you want it.
Think About Which Way You Want to Shoot: Shoot vertically to emphasize height. Shoot horizontally to emphasize width.
Add Depth: Think about how to include a foreground and a background.
Happy photographing! I would love to hear any tips you find useful for composing photos in the comments! I will be back tomorrow with some of the photos I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks.