Happy New Year!  And we're off to start another great year here at the Grace Project 365!

The month of January will be dedicated to Composition.  Good composition is key to a strong image and will impact the way your image affects the viewer.  

This month, we will be exploring the following:  center, rule of thirds, fill the frame, and negative space.

 

 1/52 - Center Composition

Composing an image with the subject matter in the center is a very traditional approach to photography.  Traditional portraits usually place the subject in the middle of the frame.  Think The Girl with a Pearl Earring.  

In this self-portrait, I placed myself in the center.  The background is plain and there is no reason to move myself anywhere but in the middle.

Center composition also works in a more complex scene, especially if there is symmetry.  The symmetry in this image helped to strenghten the center composition of the child at the desk in the middle of the frame.

When composing a center composition, please consider your background (plain or symmetric) to determine if center composition would be make the image the strongest compositionally.  If the background is not plain, consider using symmetry or other framing devices to help frame your subject.  

 

2/52 - Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a very basic rule of composition.  In order to understand it, you must think of your image as divided into three sections horizontally and three sections vertically.

The rule states that important elements of the image should fall on one of those lines or at the intersection of those lines.  Many would say that placing the subjects within these points creates tension, energy and interest in the composition rather than simply centering the subject.

In this image, I placed the father and children on the left rule of thirds line.  Your eye is immediately drawn to them.

In this next image, I placed the water droplet on the left rule of thirds, again making it the focal point of the image.

Finally, in this image, the subject is placed along the right rule of thirds line, and the sidewalk on which she is standing is along the bottom horizontal rule of thirds.

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3/52 - Fill the Frame

Filling the frame is a technique whereby your subject fills the entire frame of the image.  In order to be effective, it must be done purposefully, with intention.  Think about what is within the frame, and what was cropped out.  For an up close portrait, consider keeping the eyes above the top horizontal rule of thirds line.

In this image, I filled the frame with the subject - the arm and leaf - keeping the focus on the leaf. To include her entire body would not add to the image. In fact, it would take the attention away from the leaf.

In the next image, I wanted the viewer to focus on the shape of the petals, and how they fall down in what looks like ribbons.  Had I stepped back and included the entire bud, you would not see the detail here, and the detail almost also gives it a sense of movement, falling off down to the side.

 

4/52 - Negative Space

Negative space is a fun way to get creative.  Negative space by definition is the space around the subject which is devoid of any detail.  It can help remove distractions in an image and help the viewer focus on the subject.  It can add a little drama to an image by making the subject seem tiny in a great expanse of space.  It can also create a sense of balance by placing the subject on the rule of thirds line and having the space around it empty.   

In this image, there is little negative space around the subject.  It's not an image I would have edited but for using it as an example here.  You can see the details in the semi-dead flower, but the impact that image makes on you is lacking.

By shifting my positioning, and moving the flower over to the lefthand side, I created a more dramatic image of the same exact flower, just minutes after the one above.  Nothing changed other than the composition, and the negative space makes for a stronger, more dramatic image where the focus is clearly on the bud.

I hope you found this information helpful.  Please remember to post your images to the appropriate albums on Facebook no later than January 31, 2017.  The albums are located here:  1/52 Center2/52 Rule of Thirds3/52 Fill the Frame and 4/52 Negative Space.

I look forward to seeing your work!

Lastly, if you have not yet joined in on the fun, please consider visiting the Grace Project and join today.

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