Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting and design. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.

The application of the rule of thirds to photographs is considered by many to make them more aesthetically pleasing and professional-looking. The rule of thirds can be applied by lining up subjects with the guiding lines, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line instead of the center, or allowing linear features in the photograph to flow from section to section. In addition, many photographers recommend treating any "rule" of composition as more of a guideline, since pleasing photographs can often be made while ignoring one or more such rules.
Cindy Sherman

Andre Kertesz

Bernice Abbott

Ralph Eugene Meatyard


Black and white and all the grays in between
Dark to Light
Can add drama and impact to composition.
Can give a sense of timelessness
Train your eye to read color as Black and White!
Julia Margaret Cameron

Gordon Parks

Margaret Bourke-White

Sebastiao Salgado

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



As objects become more distant, they begin to appear smaller. This phenomenon is caused by perspective. By showing perspective in your photograph, you are also creating more space or depth in your image. Thus, transforming a 2-d object (such as the photograph) into a 3-d object by inviting the viewer to enter the space of the photograph.

Perspective also has to do with "point of view" or where the photographer stands in relation to the subject of the photograph and how by [for example] standing below your subject, the subject will appear grandiose, as opposed to the photographer standing above the subject, where the subject will appear small.
It is important for the photographer to be aware that by placing themselves at a certain distance or angle from the subject, they are stating their point of view of the subject.

Robert Adams

Dorothea Lange

Minor White

Margaret Bourke-White


Another technique photographers use to direct the viewer’s attention to the primary subject of a picture. Positioned around the subject, a tree, an archway, or even people, for example, can create a frame within the picture area. Subjects enclosed by a frame become separated from the rest of the picture and are emphasized. Paying close attention to all for corners of the frame is crucial--make sure the subject is not cut off by the edge of the frame. In addition, you want to make sure you are not including any distracting elements inside your picture frame that could take away from the focus of the main subject.
Alexander Rodchenko

Mary Ellen Mark
Zuzanna Smolarkiewicz
Shelby Lee Adams
Harry Callahan


Directs the eye – horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curvy, zig-zag, etc.
Can be actual obvious lines or the borders or edges of shapes.

Edward Weston

Richard Avedon

Jonathan Moller

Robert Doisneau


or scale refers to the relationships of the size of objects in a body of work.
Proportions gives a sense of size seen as a relationship of objects. such as smallness or largeness.
Bill Brandt

Tina Modotti
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Gary Winogrand


Refersto developing points of interest to pull the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work.
Mary Ellen Mark

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Gary Winogrand

Cindy Sherman