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Are you disappointed by the photos you take? You aren’t alone. The truth is that stunning photography is harder than people think, mainly because photography is more about how you shoot rather than what you shoot. Even the most beautiful scenes and subjects can turn out awful if the one behind the camera doesn’t have a solid sense of how to take a shot the way they want it to turn out. If you want to produce better shots, there are some rules you should consider.
1. The Rule of Thirds
For a lot of photographers, the Rule of Thirds is the first piece of photography that they learn. The first time you picked up a camera, you probably felt compelled to center the subject. After all, attention should be on the subject, and attention is most drawn in the center, right? It works sometimes, but often this results in a photo that feels off somehow.
A perfectly centered image, in most cases, loses its sense of balance. It sounds contradictory right? but it’s true. If a person’s head is smack in the center,then their body is below and empty air is above, that’s unbalanced. The Rule of Thirds is one way to resolve this.
Imagine splitting a photo into a 3×3 grid and looking at the four corners of the center section. These are the intersection points of the “thirds” — a third from the top, a third from the bottom, from the left, and from the right. When shooting, place the subject in one of these four spots and see the result. Your photo composition will be much more organized and attractive.
2. The Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio is similar to the Rule of Thirds, but slightly more advanced. It’s based on a mathematical concept that we can find all throughout nature, and this concept theoretically explains why we find certain things to be aesthetically pleasing.
This ratio can be illustrated by Golden Rectangle and Golden Spiral, a design that’s commonly found in plants, animals, and other forms of nature. The bottom line, however, is that this ratio can be simplified as 1 to 1.6. In some sense, the Golden Ratio explains the relationship of balance between empty space and filled space. In other words, for every 1 bit of filled space, you need about 1.6 bits of empty space to balance it out. And that’s how we get photos like the one below.
Seems like an ordinary photo, right? But a lot of people are praising the photo for its “Renaissance painting-like” quality. As it turns out, the photo adheres to the Golden Ratio perfectly, so no wonder why it looks so damn good.
3. Leading Lines
One of the most important concepts in photography is that you want the photo to “draw” the viewer’s attention somewhere, ideally on a particular path through the photo. Most people start at the top left and move to the center, but this isn’t always the case.
The easiest way to pull the viewer’s eyes through a photo is to provide them with a direct route — and this is done with leading lines. A leading line could be anything: roads, fences, tree branches, walls, natural contours, or even silhouettes. It could even be an implied line, such as a beach or a queue of people.
The shape, direction, and depth of leading lines can create a sense of motion through the photo — and this dynamism can make your photos feel alive and active rather than static and boring. It’s this energy that can be the difference between a crappy and a compelling image.
So the next time you position yourself and hold the camera to your eye, make sure you look for the potential lines in the scenes. Don’t be afraid to stop and relocate if it means you can take better advantage of the lines around you.
Which Rules Do You Use Most?
One thing to be remembered that you do not have to use ALL of these Rules in every single photo you take. In fact, you could potentially take an awesome photo that doesn’t involve ANY of the aforementioned rules.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have a photo that doesn’t look good, applying one or more of the rules in this thread will probably improve it. So, which rule you found most important for taking better photos? Vote now and share your thoughts in comment.
You can view other photography threads here:
[MIUI Photography Tips #1] : Essential tips to capture nice shots with your smartphone
[MIUI Photography Tips #3] Important tips to take better photographs
[MIUI Photography Tips #4] Framing Your Shots ( Part-1 : Natural Framing )