Modern Portrait Photography

Photo Composition tip #: Rule of Thirds { Silt, CO Photographer }

I’m going to be sharing some of the slides from one of my recent basic photography class that I taught in Silt, CO. First, I have some composition tips to help improve your photographs. In Art there are some rules, but they can always be broken. So take these tips as suggestions to compose your photographs in a new way, but know that there are other successful ways of composing.

The first composition tip has to deal with where to place your subject in the frame. Most amateur photographers put everything smack dab in the middle, which can be a little boring and static, especially if done every time. In art there are a few different ways to compose; the easiest and most well-known is the “Rule of Thirds”. Imagine you have divided your frame into 3 equal parts going horizontally and vertically, so that it looks like a tic-tac-toe board as shown below. Your subject should be placed in one of the points of intersection. I have circles drawn where these points would be. With portraits I typically put the eye line on the top line and place the body slightly off to one side so that they fall along one of these lines- as you can see in the sample image below. If you are doing landscape photography, ideally you would want to put your horizon either in the top or bottom third- not the middle.

If you are dealing with some sort of action in your photograph, you need to give the subject room to move in your frame. For example if I were photographing a runner, I would place her on the left third of the frame and have her facing to the right so that all the extra space in the photograph is the direction she will be running. This provides space for the motion to continue out of the frame.


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