As photographers we often get ourselves caught up in what the latest cameras/lenses are, that we want to purchase. We think that the next piece of kit we buy will somehow miraculously open up our creativity and allow us to produce work that not only we love but the rest of the world, pushing us the some kind of international photography celebrity status. Well maybe not that far but you get my drift.
As it turns out there are a few things you should be more concerned with learning or focusing on, and they are the rules of composition. I’m not going to talk about breaking the rules, that’s for another post and you really need to understand the rules before you can break them. So let’s get into just some of the rules you should understand.
The rule of thirds myth
That’s right the famous rule of thirds rule that everyone goes on about is a myth. The true rule is the golden ratio. The rule of third gets you close to the golden ratio but you need to tweak it a little to get it right. It’s slightly more technical then the rule of thirds with an approximate number of 1.618 it is also known a ‘Phi’. The golden ration or Phi falls just outside the axis of the rule of thirds.
This is a general mapping out of the golden ration. Try and picture this when your composing next time. It takes a bit of getting used to but you’ll get it.
Lead in lines
This is probably one of the most important composition tools/rules out there. With some now how and re positioning you can effectively draw the eye of the viewer to any point you want within the frame. It’s extremely powerful if you think about it. How it works is that you eyes/brain search for straight lines to follow. If you start to look for them you’ll find lead in lines everywhere.
Not really a composition rule but get control of your cameras focusing. We all get swept up with how many focus points the new cameras have. There is a technique called Focus Lock and Recompose where by you only use the center focusing point, focus on your subject with a half press of the shutter button and then while holding the shutter button down recompose and then take your shot. Of course if your shooting a moving subject and you have continuous auto focus on then I suggest having all of your focus points active.
This allows you to have complete control over what you focus on, not allowing your camera to select for you. This technique can also be used in many of the semi automatic modes like Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program. You’ll probably also find you can use this in some of the scene modes.
Now for the shameless plug
I got into more details about these and many more simple tips in our latest ebook, 31 Days to Stronger, Better Photographs. It’s written in plain English with lots of photos and examples, on how you can improve your photography. There has been quite a few people who have purchased it and are enjoying the simple tips. It might be the perfect ebook for you or perhaps someone you know got a new camera for Christmas.