Last week I shared and attempted looking at Emma’s composition challenge in one post all about meadow flowers (you can view my composition challenge notes here). This week the challenge is to look at:
- Rule of Thirds – The classic composition technique. Position your subject on one of the imaginary lines that divide your frame into 3. This gives a pleasing, dynamic composition instead of a dull, static one.
- Leading Lines – Take your viewer by the hand and lead them through your photograph with visual cues – fences, footpaths, shadows.
- Symmetry – One of the most appealing design techniques, humans are naturally drawn to symmetry.
- Fill the frame – This is an attention-grabbing composition technique. No horizon, no foreground, no background, just a frame full of subject.
- Triangles – Look for triangles within your frame – they make for interesting compositions.
A related technique is to photograph things in 3s rather than pairs. And for a composition that works every time, arrange the 3 things in a triangle rather than a straight line. This works especially well in group photos.
- Balance – This is a trickier technique to master. You are aiming to decide how much ‘weight’ each aspect of the photograph carries, and then to make sure they are balanced. Aspects of the photograph can include colour, tone and texture, but also foreground/background, or main subject/secondary subject.
Things that affect balance include where something is positioned within the image (and does it have something opposite to act as a counterweight), and how much of the image a particular aspect (like colour or texture) occupies.
- Pattern – Much like symmetry, patterns are automatically attractive to humans. Try combining a pattern with filling the frame for a truly eye-catching, and sometimes very abstract, image.
There are some fantastic examples over on Emma’s page – pop over and take a look – Emma’s idea is that you focus your photography for a month and shoot one idea a day – at the start of the year this would have been perfect for my 365 project… but I have so much planned this month and so many adventures to have, that I have only one day again this week…. aaahhhh!
After thinking about what to photograph, baking a pie and making jam tarts .. I decided that the perfect accompaniment would be the french beans that I have grown in the garden and I wondered whether I could try all these rules of composition with a small bunch of beans.
The abstract below uses one of the bean images above and has been manipulated in Photoshop. I love the vibrant colours – can you guess which image was the original? Does this count as a composition … it is a pattern, it repeats and reflects and has some great symmetry – it was taken with a camera, there is balance in the green and brown tones, the frame is filled with colour and the lines draw you into the centre of the image. What do you think?
Some of the rules cross over each other, but by choosing just one subject, you can really explore what the rules are and you have to think about what you creating when you take the image.