Posts tagged “#diagonal rule”

Line of sight

November 4, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

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In the last few blogs I discussed how the vanishing point draws your attention in a photo, and about how the diagonal rule helps you create leading lines. Similarly, the line of sight of the people you photograph can also grab viewers’ attention.

In most cases, people ask their subjects to look at the camera when taking portraits, thinking that the picture will look nicer with this kind of “eye-contact.” But that is arguable. Let’s look at Photo 2 in which you can find the dancer looking straight at the camera. Do you think that Photo 2 is more interesting than Photo 1 (the subject here did not make eye contact with the camera)? In my opinion, Photo 2 is kind of dull compared with Photo 1. Look again at Photo 1. You can see people sitting behind the dancer looking at her, while the dancer is looking at someone or something off-frame. The line of sight goes from central left, to right top, and back to the left off-frame. That’s why it draws your attention, and explains why a simple gaze of the subject into the camera in Photo 2 is less intriguing.

Photo 3 again shows you how dull a photo is when the subject is simply “looking into the camera.” However, if this gaze is accompanied by something different, like this girl at the right talking to other kids, it may be able to grab your attention. That’s why Photo 4 is interesting, apart from the good-looking face of the little girl.

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Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1

Tips on composition

October 7, 2011 10:00 am HKT No comments

20111007 Tips on composition - 1 20111007 Tips on composition - 2

Recently in this blog I have been putting more effort into providing tips for beginning photographers regarding the use of ambient and artificial light instead of posting more casual writing on shooting experiences. I received some positive comments so I began to consider reorganizing my thoughts and writing more organized presentations about basic photography skills.

To start with, let’s talk about composition.

Diagonal Rule

Let’s skip the theoretical part. The rule is to make your photo more interesting by showing your subjects as diagonal lines in your picture, simply because it’s more visually dynamic. Also, a portrait orientation instead of a landscape orientation looks more dynamic. On top of all this, make clever use of eye-catching colors or blown-out areas as added interest, like I did in Photo 1.

Imaginary line

Something similar to the visible diagonal lines in a picture, is the imaginary line that draws the viewer’s attention when looking at a photo. Photo 2 shows you the interior part of a Penang temple. This picture was taken with a 17-40 mm lens so you can see that the visual impact mainly comes from the intended distortion using a wide angle lens to capture something “up there.” Also, you can get a more interesting photo (Photo 3) if there is a human subject looking up at something off the frame. The imaginary line is formed as you follow the boy’s line of sight to the upper right part of the photo.

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Against the “rules”

Needless to say, a wide angle lens is the basic and most convenient gear you need for creating visual impacts, especially when shooting buildings, like what I did in Photo 4. But you will find the pictures very dull if they are monochromatic in nature. So you’d better add colors to your picture by finding interesting and colorful mansions. As for Photo 5, I did not follow the “rules” by using the widest end of the 17-40 mm lens. Instead, I tried to make my photo more interesting by including the trees that block the mansions in the composition. To be fair, the mixture of light green, dark green, and the blue sky is the most important element that draws your attention.

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20111007 Tips on composition - 5

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1 1 1
Lens EF 17-40mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1 1 1
LED lighting Triopo LED Light Panel 1