I promised to talk about composition this week. I've been dreading it. Why? Because one cannot discuss composition without talking about THE RULE OF THIRDS. Every photography blogger, tutorial, video and expert on the interwebs has talked about the Rule of Thirds. There isn't much new to cover in this area, so I'll cover it my way - short and to the point.
The Rule of Thirds dictates that its best to put your subject in one third of your composition (one side or another), and leave the other two-thirds open. That's it. It's nothing more complex than that. Experts say this provides balance to your composition. As crazy and as simple as it sounds, it works. It's been proven repeatedly using this basic ratio for composition provides a more balanced and pleasing image. Why? Some say it has something to do with The Golden Ratio, which is a mathematical ratio of roughly 1.61. When you do magic math stuff it creates a spiral like the one below. Scientist and other smart people say The Golden Ration is present everywhere in nature, and generally God thought it was a good idea. Notice, the spiral tightens in one third of the image. Essentially, the ROT and GR are expression of the same thing.
This is what you need to know about to use these composition tools. 1) Your camera or phone likely has a menu function to place a grid or ratio image in your viewfinder or screen. This will allow you to template your image. 2) You can also set the manual focus points on your camera to focus your subject on one side or the other. This will ensure you are using the ROT and to make sure you're focused on your subject. We'll cover these tools in future blog posts. 3) You can also crop an image to get the ratio correct, but that is a last-ditch move. Cropping degrades your image quality. Its best to get the ratio correct when you take the image.
Why do I think ROT is important? Using this ratio allows the photographer to set up their subject and give it context. It allows you to frame your subject, and provides room to "dress" up the subject with light, context, leading lines, or powerful settings. IT GIVES YOU ROOM IN YOUR IMAGE TO TELL A STORY.
That's it, the Rules of Thirds in a nutshell. I'm going to leave you with one of my images which I think demonstrates the ROT. Notice the vase is the subject, and its center occupies the left 1/3. It is the focal point. The vineyard provides both context and leading lines. The hills beyond bisect the vase's top, which then leads you to the vineyard, which leads to the vase. The bush isn't ideal, but sometimes ideal isn't possible. However, the bush does provide balance and blends with the greens so isn't so noticeable. It also leads your eye back to the vase.
See you next time.
If you enjoyed this blog, please like the post and leave a comment. Also visit my Facebook, my fine art photography and check out my photography book from America Through Time, "Abandoned Wiregrass: The Deepest South's Lost and Forgotten Places."