Focus Part 2 - Composition

So in the last blog I attempted to explain how to use aperture to help you with the focus of your subjects. You can find that here. This post is going to attempt to help you with composing, how to make photos that captures attention and draws the viewer in for a closer look. 

There are many blog posts on hundreds of sites about this kind of subject. In this you need to find your voice and style. There are plenty of rules to photography that people will tell you to follow, but I always feel that rules are made to be broken. When I was younger I used to break rules just to be a rebel and break rules. Now that I am older and hopefully more mature I have realized that you have to have a reason and a purpose for breaking a rule. 

Lets start with the Rule of Thirds.

So the rule of thirds is probably one of the most widely used and a rule that is extremely helpful when composing an image. The top image I took down at the beach here in Rhode Island. I had plenty of images of just the sunset, But lets be real. Everyone has seen a sunset, and yes they are fun to take photos of, but what was going to set this image apart? Well I noticed this hot young lady standing there taking it all in. (She is my wife btw). So I recomposed the image with her in it, and just at that moment the geese flew into the frame. It makes the image a little more interesting that just a plain sunset photo. And as you can see she is on the right third and the geese are on the left third. But the bottom image is not composed in thirds. I was out taking some portraits last night and I had several that were composed in thirds, and I just was not happy with them. So I stepped back to get a wider shot and composed him in the center with the light above him. Everything in the photo draws your attention straight to his face in the center. I purposefully broke the rule of thirds and ended up with what in my opinion is a stellar photo. 

Scroll through the gallery above and as you look at the photos think about how the photographer framed the image. Did they use the Rule of Thirds? Did they break it? Where are your eyes drawn too? (Click the images to see other images from these photographers.)

Speaking of where our eyes are drawn. A general thought on this is that our eyes move to the brightest part of the picture. So when you are composing you image think about if there is going to be anything bright that will distract from the subject. A great example of this is from my friend Chris Hsieh of La Brisa Photography  Check out this photo. 

Chris filled the image with a lot of negative space, and although there is a bright spot in the center his subject is lit just a tad brighter. It is also a unique way to compose the image. Just like this one.

Chris Hsieh - labrisaphotography

So is that all you need to know? well, that is a start, but there are several others that can help you take you images to the next level. 

Another thing you can do to compose your image is think outside the box. When you travel and you are around landmarks that EVERYONE has photos of, look for a new perspective. A few years back I was In Seattle and of course wanted to see the Space needle. Now everyone has the iconic photo of it, but as we were walking around I was looking for something different and came upon this.   

There are is a lot more to cover about this. But I wanted to keep it quick and sweet. These are just a few of my favorite rules. What are some that are helpful to you?