Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Rules of Composition

Last week we had a interesting talk from Tony Pioli on composition at the photography club.

Now composition is one of those subjects which I know the theory well, but struggle to put it into practice when in the field.

The talk concentrated largely on landscapes, and one interesting point he raised was the tendency for the eye(well the western eye anyway) to favor left to tight images.

This I will demonstrate this with some of my best images...

The rule of thirds is a well known rule(well, guideline) in photography. The concept is that the strongest points on a photograph must lie on the line or a intersection from a grid splitting a picture up in thirds.

 The left to right rule takes this a step further and says in a image with one strong vertical, the vertical should lie on the right third of the image.

In theory the image is now stronger

This is quite a simple concept and best of all can be relatively easy to achieve post processing. If the image is on the left third you simply flip the image in the editor.

The other rule was the L rule.  That is a picture is strong if it forms a L shape, with a strong vertical on the right . Now this seems to break the left right rule, but the caveat to this is that it needs some interest in the other 2/3's such as clouds. If that area is blank it will not work as well.

Clear Sky

with Clouds...

Those were the two rules which stood out of the talk. However there were others such as a image with one eye should be central and in still life images there height progression is low medium, high, medium.

Height progression

As simple rules they work well. Of course all composition rules should be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not really rules, but useful guidelines and often a picture stands out because it breaks the conventions not because they follow it. So the more important life lesson is not so much the rules themselves, but when to break them