Photo Field Guide | Composition
When you just need a quick set of reminders for working with a photo-taking device, no matter where you are or what you are doing.
Framing the Shot
Improving your photography skills can hold public attention a bit longer to make a point. Like a storybook you’re developing a strategic narrative for busy, sometimes overwhelmed people and/or supporters to keep them informed.
These are a few methods that have worked for thousands of years to hold the eye of the viewer. If we can grab their eye and hold their attention for .3 seconds or longer, there’s an opportunity to impart the main point of what you want to communicate. This can help build awareness and understanding.
Rule of Thirds
Visually divide your subject into three parts, vertically and horizontally. Play with centering the focal point and with placing it off-center.
Left to Right
Many people are conditioned to read both text and image from upper left to lower right.
Place your impact-point in the lower right and lead them with the story from the left.
Found all over the place in nature, and used in architecture for thousands of years. Composing a shot using this method will reach the subconscious of your viewer, and appeal to them. The point is to work with what is subconsciously familiar to assert a point that may be new to them.
The smokestack image suggests the viewer look at the focal point, where the action is occurring. In this case, the action carries into the clouds and draws the eye from the upper left to the lower right portion of the image.
On the level
Try out different vertical position with your photos, sometimes getting on the ground-level can draw people into the story you're telling.
Leading the eye through your image using a diagonal line can add a sense of action and drama to a photo.
Framing an image with a diagonal element at play can also be seen as a use of perspective to make a subject more interesting.
Zoom in on your point, the subject you want to share. With a phone this means getting closer. With a camera or a phone, the more you zoom, the greater the chance of blur.
If you can engage the emotion of a person with an image you have a much greater chance of making your point.
Mirrored images are interesting to look at, and symbolic, showing us many aspects of our involvement in the world we share.