Every time you take a photograph, you should be making a conscious decision as to the size and scope of the story being told. How much context you are including? Who is the hero? What range of emotion are you trying to portray? One way to successfully communicate your message is by composing your image in a way that draws viewers to the focal point.
These are some of my favourites:
1. The Classic Rule of Thirds
This is perhaps the most well known. Imagine your photograph is divided in a grid of 9 equal rectangles divided by 2 equally spaced vertical lines and 2 equally spaced horizontal ones. By positioning your subject on these lines or at the junction of the two, you help draw your viewer's attention as well as create an image that is more pleasing to the eyes. Some cameras even provide you with a guiding grid.
Frames are all around us! The can be found in nature or can be man-made. While keeping in mind the hero in your story, take a quick survey of the surroundings. What can you use? Trees, windows and play structures are good examples. Frames can also be more subtle. Always keep an eye out for a beautiful contrast of light versus shadows.
3. Leading Lines
I love lines! Like framing, leading lines really enhance your image. When you take your photograph, position yourself in a way that allows these lines to draw the viewer to your hero. Bridges, streets, stairways or walls are common examples, but also try to notice more subtle lines.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, you can drastically transform an image depending on the perpective in which you decide to shoot it. You can look up or down, be close, or far. The feel of your the whole image will change! Everytime you take your camera, remember to move around. The more you do it the more you'll know which angles your prefer.
There are two compositions that really make people spend a long time examining a photo. The first is a photo composed with a LOT of detail. The other is the complete opposite: negative space. Negative space is the neutral area that surrounds the hero in your photograph. By removing distractions, people can enjoy spending time appreciating and contemplating the actions and emotions of the hero. What is he doing? Thinking? Feeling? Contrasting colours and textures also really help bring the story to life!
Hope you found these tips helpful! Here is one I took this week using a few of the compositions above. Can you tell which ones?
Have a great time telling your stories.
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