Another Way of Looking at the Rules of Composition

Throughout the history of photography, there has been much written about all kinds of “rules of composition.” For example, there’s the famous rule of thirds that divides and image into three slices and dictates specific intersection points within the frame where subjects should be placed for maximum impact. While there is an element of truth in all of these kinds of rules, using a dogmatic approach to your photography may not be the best solution—especially when you have to work fast.

0.6 sec at f/20 and ISO 400

0.6 sec at f/20 and ISO 400

My philosophy of composition is based on how the eye sees and on constructing a photograph using these building blocks, When you look at a pictures, your eyes see parts of the image in the following order: sharpness, brightness, and warmth.

it works in B&W too

On the simplest level if your subject is the sharpest, brightest, warmest object in the photograph, you’ve got a winner but if the subject is not sharp—tilt! The same thing happens when a sharp, bright object is placed near a similarly, sharp bright warm object; you’re eyes are gonna go to the warmest object, whether it’s sharp or not. So waddaya do? Change the framing of the image to eliminate the warm object or use depth-of-field to make it a lot less sharp. You get the picture…

Author: Joe Farace

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