Thursday, April 06, 2006


There are certain aspects that make up a well-composed photo that may be obvious or not to the untrained eye. Taking advantage of technical aspects such as the rule of thirds, framing, leading lines, and many others can make a photo eye catching and interesting, or if used incorrectly can make it look set-up or confusing.

One of the most important rules in good candid photography is to get faces. Michael Mahlbacher, photo editor for Bellarmine Univeristy's Concord suggests zooming in as much as possible.
"When you zoom in it makes the subject more empasized and background less distracting," Mahlbacher said. Faces of people in the subject show emotion or action. It is very important to catch the emotion of the subjects because it will draw the reader in and make them more a part of the action.
"If there is only one subject I look for facial expression, but if I'm shooting several subjects, social interaction is more important," Mahlbacher said. This, in turn, makes the photo more interesting because people can relate. Getting close enough to the subject so that the whites of the eyes are visible is one way to make sure to catch the emotion. Getting closer to the subject for the shot puts more emphasis on the subject and will be much more interesting to look at in almost every case. There is also a rule that helps make sure the subject and his or her action is in the correct spots.

The Rule of Thirds says that if you divide the frame into nine equal boxes, the points of intersection between each third of the picture is where some integral part of the action should go. For example, if a baseball player is hitting the ball, it would be most ideal to have the baseball player on one intersection facing into the picture and the ball or bat on the other dividing line. This is seen as a tactic to make the photo more interesting because it is more interesting and organized. The middle of the picture is thought to be a very boring place to put the main action because of the natural way in which people’s eyes travel over the visual image. Therefore it is thought to be more interesting if the subject and action are set outside the middle of the picture and more towards these points. This technique is necessary in sports photography because it leads the viewer into the frame and leaves space to show where the ball or action will go next.

(Google Images)

Framing is another important rule that can be very helpful or harmful to the shot. This aspect can be helpful in the sense that the shot is lined up so that the main object is framed by something in the foreground – something in front of the subject. This is a subtle way to draw the eye in without making it look set-up or phony. This example is a little over exaggerated by it shows the concept. Although it can be a good tool to use it can also be harmful if the viewfinder shows more than is captured in the picture. It leads you to believe that the framing of the whole picture is different than it seems. It is important to keep the action on the intersecting lines as much as possible in order to avoid this problem. However digital photography is helping this problem a great deal.

(Google Images)

Lastly, leading lines are a way in which to draw the reader's eyes in to a specific part of the action. Many sports fields have lines on them, which makes it that much easier to draw the viewer into the picture. It also may show where the subject will be going next. Volleyball is a very good example of leading lines as in this example. Not only are there lines on the floor to lead to players if the camera is facing them, there is also several hundred lines included in the net with the top and bottom being much thicker to draw in emphasis toward the players.

(Google Images)


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