Tuesday, March 30, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week FIVE

Welcome to Week 5 of the 12 Weeks to Better Photography Challenge hosted by Meredith at La Buena Vida!  


Last week's lesson on Flash was a bit of a bummer, but this week, the lesson was on photo composition.  The peeps at Two Peas in a Bucket gave us a list of 6 Rules of Composition and encouraged us to take or find photos that would solidify those rules.

Rule #1 - Keep it Simple -  Try to be aware of what is in the background of your picture and minimize if possible, either by removing the distraction or by reducing the depth of field with your aperture setting.

 - I find this rule to be the one I struggle with most.  I have a tendency to just whip out the camera and take a picture without really thinking about what all is going on.  While I find that I naturally follow most of the other rules without thinking about it, I'm finding that keeping the background simple requires some thought.

For example, below is a pic where I tried a new perspective (laying on the ground) and positioned Izzy according to the Rule of Thirds, but by not realizing what an eye sore that green knee pad would be, I kinda ruined the picture. 

Rule #2 - Rule of Thirds - Break your photo into 9 sections by visualizing two vertical and two horizontal lines.  Position the focal point of your photograph so that hits in one of the intersecting points of those lines.  Basically, in most situations, avoid placing the subject of your photo smack dab in the middle.

Rule #3 - Keep an Eye on the Horizon - In keeping with the rule of thirds, in landscape photos, align the horizon in the top 1/3 or bottom 1/3 of the photo.

This example picture is from our trip last year to the Grand Canyon.  What I really like about this photo is that by taking is vertically, we get more of a sense of the height of the canyon.  I also think having the tree in focus in the foreground helps give perspective on the size of that section of the canyon.

Rule #4 - Frame Your Subject - Other than keeping the picture simple, this is one that I hope to practice.  Again, it takes some thought, but look in the background, foreground to see if you can use any items to draw the viewers eye directly to your subject.  Maybe you can use linear perspective, like a fence or railway or trail of footsteps in the sand?

Rule #5 - Fill the Frame -When you want to try something other than the Rule of Thirds to draw attention toward your subject, consider filling the frame of your picture with your subject.  I find this gives the picture a sense of importance - but be careful - some people overdo this and it can look like they got crop-happy!

Another version of this picture has the full tree in the frame as well as a road sign etc... By making the snow covered branches the focus I think it makes the photo that much more compelling - plus it also follows the Keep It Simple rule :)

Rule #6 - Try a New Perspective - I love trying out this rule.  Basically, consider taking your photo from somewhere other than a standing position.  I love getting down on the floor, or putting the camera up high on a tripod.  This is especially helpful for your small subjects like pets, children and flowers...

You saw and example above, but check this one out too...

Finally, another highlight of the lesson this week is that rules are made to be broken.  I think the following is a good example of that.  The butterfly's "face" is right in the center of the photo - so it totally violates the rule, but I still think its pretty amazing.

See you next week for Lesson 6!  Woot Woot!  We are almost 1/2 way!


Mrs.SLC said...

Wow that butterfly picture is amazing!

Kate said...

OMG Izzy is so cute!! And that butterfly photo is gorgeous! I can't imagine ever getting something like that.

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