Photography is an art form that has its own set of rules. Knowing the rules can help a photographer create photos that are pleasant to look at. Knowing the rules also gives a photographer the ability to know when breaking them would lead to a better photograph.Photographer: Ruvim Miksanskiy on Unsplash
Deciding where to focus can give a photo just the right amount of blur in the background. Depth of field is useful when a photographer wants to showcase a particular part of the picture, like the nose on this deer.
Notice how everything but the nose is blurred. The f-stop on this lens was so wide that it created a sharp focus on a small part of the deer and left the rest blurred. The eyes are out of focus and the body has simply become bokeh in the background.
Another animal photo showing depth of field. The eye and fur are in sharp focus.
The depth of field in this is not front to back, rather the focus is on the middle field of view. The foreground is out of focus as is the background.Photographer: Ben Lambert on Unsplash
Each photo can be divided neatly into three vertical and horizontal planes, or thirds. Placing the subject in one of these planes is pleasing to the eye. Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer’s eye into the composition.
If the subject is small, place it on one of the intersections of the grid. If it is large or long, place it along one of the lines or in that third of the photo. In this photo, the subject’s upper body is in the left third of the photo. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the subject and then to where he is gazing. This photo is composed to evoke a sense of smallness and wonder at something greater than oneself.
Is this a chair or a bench? By placing it partly in the right third of the photo and partly out of the frame, it leaves the interpretation up to the viewer.
The arm of the seat juts into the middle third of the photo, but the majority of the seat is in the right third. If the seat were placed directly in the middle of the photo, it would not draw the eye into the photo as effectively.Photographer: Will Truettner on Unsplash
Leading lines are another way to draw the eye toward the subject of the photo. When a photographer wants to pull someone’s attention to a particular point, leading lines can be effective. Frames are a form of leading lines that create a box rather than a path for the eye.
Knowing the rules makes composition interesting. Using these tools can take a photograph from mundane to wow. A good photographer can create photos that stand out by using these simple rules. It takes some practice to get your mind to see things in terms of these three rules, and it wi well worth the effort.