There are many different rules that a photographer can follow to make sure the images they capture are as interesting as possible. There are even more ways to break those rules to make images interesting. Let’s temporarily disregard most of those and focus today on three of the most basic.
Rule of Thirds
(Photo by Zach Sutton https://zsuttonphoto.com/male-headshots/)
The rule of thirds says that if we were to put an imaginary grid over a photo the point of interest of that photo should fall on one of four main intersections.
For example when we put the grid over this head shot we can see that this man’s eye falls perfectly under the intersection. This photographer has employed the rule of thirds to make his subject more interesting rather than just putting the subject in the middle.
Here is a photo I took of one of my action figures in a similar style. I tried to line it up so that the eye of mine falls under that same grid line.
(Photo taken from http://www.worldtravelingmilitaryfamily.com/photography-leading-lines/)
Leading lines is a concept that says that you should use naturally occurring lines in the world around you to guide a viewers eye in a photo. This is generally used to highlight a point of interest.
Like we see in this photo. The young girl on the tracks is brought into focus because the tracks themselves form two lines that seem to “point” directly at her.
Again I took my trusty action figure on an adventure to recreate this photo and this concept. The tracks form two lines leading straight to my action figures head. Two places my photo falls short is by making the side of the photo too busy by having a building there and by breaking our next rule…
Depth of Field
Depth of field is one of my personal favorite photographic tools. To simplify the concept depth of field uses the “focus” feature on most modern cameras. It’s the idea that one object in a photo is clearly visible while the other items in the photo are blurry.
In this example we see a young man standing in the road. He is in clear focus. So much so that we can see the wrinkles on his jeans. The lights and buildings on the street, however, form colorless blobs in the background.
My modest phone camera couldn’t achieve quite as extreme of a focus contrast but the action figure in the foreground is definitely much more clear than the blurry jeep in the background.
By using the rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field one can easily create more visually interesting photos than before. Place your subject carefully, examine the world around you, and focus.