Nikon d800 Princeton

Started Dec 31, 2013 | Photos thread
Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Some things to think about when composing...

Fave Photog wrote:

Robin Casady wrote:

Some things to think about when composing in camera:

1. What is the purpose of the picture? What are you trying sho/say? How effective does the composition do that?

2. Is there a center of interest? Most compositions need one. People want something to focus their attention on. The CofI helps tell the viewer what the image is about. Without it a viewer can feel somewhat lost.

3. Where is the CofI placed in the frame? Is it in a visually comfortable location? People will tell you about the Rule-of-Thirds, but it is often a little off.

I downloaded the below image and applied the Rule of Thirds grid overlay to it and the small square was exactly where the grid lines intersect. So that diagram is the Rule of Thirds...minus the all-important grid lines.

It is the intersection of the lines, not the square. The square is meant to indicate a right angle. I should have made it hollow. See the red dots. With a 24x36mm frame (2:3 ratio) it is close, but a little off.

FX: 24x36 or 2:3

With an 8x10, 16x20 (4:5 ratio) frame it is even farther off.

4:5, 8x10, 16x20

There are more pleasing geometric rules that have been used since before the Parathion was built. Google: "dynamic symmetry in photography"

A quick rule I was taught for a good placement of the CofI was to visualize a diagonal line from one corner of the frame to another. Then imagine a line from another corner that hits that diagonal at right angles. This gives you four possible CofI locations in the frame.

Exactly what the Rule of Thirds grid does, except the RoT grid is a better aid for composing since any point along the grid lines, and not just the 4 points, is also visually pleasing.

I can't agree with that on two accounts.

1. The rule of thirds is just a rough approximation of more complex dynamic symmetry rules. The 3rd's is intended to help beginners get started.

2. Not all points along the 3rd's grid lines would work for a CofI.

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Robin Casady
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
— Bertrand Russell

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