Positioning within the picture format

Most beginners position the main subject they want to emphasize centrally in the picture. This may work well for a strictly symmetrical composition with a child's face centered in the middle of whirling concentric circles, but it easily becomes repetitive and boring. There is, however, a viewer-researched classical guide to placing the principal element called the 'golden mean',

Figure 3.1 Radiating lines draw the viewer's attention towards a single focal point in the picture.

which artists have favored in composition over the centuries. The concept is that the strongest, most 'pleasing' position for points of interest is at one of the intersection lines dividing vertical and horizontal zones in an 8:5 ratio. A simple interpretation of this idea is often called the 'rule of thirds'. Figure 3.2 shows the four so-called 'strong' positions this gives within a 35 mm camera's picture format ratio. Many cameras have a viewfinder that displays these grid points to help aid with composing your pictures.

The golden mean is an interesting guide in photography but, as with other forms of picture making, it is something that should never be slavishly adopted. Lines and tones elsewhere in pictures all contribute to photographs with unified balance and strong structure. Pictures with their main element placed very off-center against plain surroundings tend to look unstable, but they can be lively and have a spacious, open-air feel. Offcentering can work very well where another secondary element (typically on the opposite side of the frame)

Figure 3.2 You can add a sense of balance to an off-center composition by using relates to it and gives your picture the rule of thirds as a guide. Simply place the points of interest from your picture balance (see Figure 3.3).

at the intersection of the grid lines.

Figure 3.4 By backlighting your main subjects, it is easy to create silhouette effects. In this type of image the shape of the subjects is paramount, as texture and color are kept to a minimum.
0 0

Post a comment