There are countless ways to take a picture, but just because one can take a picture doesn’t mean it will look appealing to the eye. Photographers are encouraged to use their individual creativity and some structure guidelines when taking good photos. A well composed photo can send a clear message and be better used in the professional visual world. Leading Lines, Rule of Thirds, and Depth of Field are just 3 basic structures that help beginners take better composed photos.
Verticle, horizontal, diagonal, curvy, zigzag, radial lines all can pull viewer into the picture highlighting a certain focus, or heping create movement in the photo. The image below is a good example of movement or taking the viewer through the photo. Rather than being drawn to a certain point this photo takes the viewers eyes from the “beginning” of the photo to the “end”.
The Lines travel from the front to the back of the photo creating a depth in the photo as if you are walking into the photo. The reflection has lines that also contribute to the movement and depth in the photo.
Depth of Field
When a photo has distant background the scene is layered. Our eyes have the capacity of organizing these layers and seeing depth in photography. One may bring focus to a specific portion of the photo using depth of field. Depth of field can be easily defined as the distance between the closest and furthest points in an image that are focused.
Both photos focus on the flowers closest to the camera. The aperture is milder in the second one meaning less blurred (iPhone 6S cameras cameras don’t have as many options with aperture). Having the background blurred creates more depth or distance between the flowers and the background
Rule of Thirds
When using a grid to take photos photographers try to put the important part of the photo on the lines or where the lines intersect. This creates balance and dynamics in the photo. In both these photos the tree is the focus as well as the landscape. The tree follows the vertical line as well as the point where two lines intersect. The landscape has two mountain ridges and both follow the horizontal lines.
In this photo the tree is following the vertical line. The bottom and top of the building follow the horizontal lines on the grid
All of these structures can help one create more balanced and dynamic photos. However, all these rules are simply guidelines. Many agree that there are exceptions to these “rules”. For those looking to improve their photos, these are some basic techniques to help train your eyes to capture the moment just the way you want.