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Composition in Photography

We all hear of cer­tain rules in pho­tog­ra­phy that one may want to abide by. It is not to say these rules are set in stone but if fol­lowed, nor­mally your pho­tos stand out that much more.


The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is used reg­u­larly by most advanced pho­tog­ra­phers. The rule states that an image should be imag­ined as divided into nine equal parts (like a tick tack toe board) by two equally-spaced hor­i­zon­tal lines and two equally-spaced ver­ti­cal lines, and that impor­tant com­po­si­tional ele­ments should be placed along these lines or their inter­sec­tions. The shot above is a good exam­ple. Most new­bies would have placed the model dead cen­ter in this image. The image works much bet­ter com­po­si­tion­al­ly  with the model to to right of cen­ter on one of the lines with the yel­low dot. Play with this ‘rule’ for your­self just to test it out.

Depth of Field (oth­er­wise known as DOF), is the area from the fore­ground to the back­ground within your photo that is in focus. A nar­row DOF (F-2.0 or F-2.8 for exam­ple) will allow the main sub­ject of your photo in be in focus while the back­ground is blurred. A wider DOF allows one’s eyes to wan­der over the whole image as there are more details that are in focus.

Other ‘rules’ to con­sider include lead­ing lines, fram­ing, fore­ground inter­est and more.

Orig­i­nal link from our Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Composition in Photography

We all hear of cer­tain rules in pho­tog­ra­phy that one may want to abide by. It is not to say these rules are set in stone but if fol­lowed, nor­mally your pho­tos stand out that much more.


The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is used reg­u­larly by most advanced pho­tog­ra­phers. The rule states that an image should be imag­ined as divided into nine equal parts (like a tick tack toe board) by two equally-spaced hor­i­zon­tal lines and two equally-spaced ver­ti­cal lines, and that impor­tant com­po­si­tional ele­ments should be placed along these lines or their inter­sec­tions. The shot above is a good exam­ple. Most new­bies would have placed the model dead cen­ter in this image. The image works much bet­ter com­po­si­tion­ally‚ with the model to to right of cen­ter on one of the lines with the yel­low dot. Play with this ‘rule’ for your­self just to test it out.

Depth of Field (oth­er­wise known as DOF), is the area from the fore­ground to the back­ground within your photo that is in focus. A nar­row DOF (F-2.0 or F-2.8 for exam­ple) will allow the main sub­ject of your photo in be in focus while the back­ground is blurred. A wider DOF allows one’s eyes to wan­der over the whole image as there are more details that are in focus.

Other ‘rules’ to con­sider include lead­ing lines, fram­ing, fore­ground inter­est and more.

Orig­i­nal link from our Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

How to Create Sepia Tones

To add a cer­tain nos­tal­gic effect to pho­tos, many fine art pho­tog­ra­phers‚ enjoy chang­ing the colour of the pho­to­graph or actu­ally ton­ing the print to sepia. Using the dark­room to achieve your sepia effect is an option if you have the facil­i­ties avail­able. If not, you have two other options — an in cam­era option on many DSLRs and good old photoshop.

This image was printed in the darkroom and then toned in a sepia bath to get this rich brown colour.

Venus and Cupid by Marko Kulik — This image was printed in the dark­room and then toned in a sepia bath to get this rich brown colour.


Many dig­i­tal cam­eras now offer you the option of tak­ing the image in sepia (and other tones as well like blue, red, green etc.) This is quick and effi­cient for imme­di­ate results. It does have it’s lim­i­ta­tions though, like los­ing all of the colour infor­ma­tion in the image. This is why most pho­tog­ra­phers like to ‘play around’ with their photo in photoshop.

Pho­to­shop not only allows the option of con­vert­ing to sepia, but it fur­ther allows a whole range of brown/orange tones to choose from. Some artists pre­fer a more muted sepia, while oth­ers pre­fer it to appear more dras­tic. Either way, there is really a vast array of tones to choose from.

What­ever the method, just make sure of one thing — save an orig­i­nal copy of your photo just in case you decide that sepia wasn’t for you after all.

Here’s the link from our Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

66 — Becoming a Photography Assistant

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #66 dis­cusses how to become a photographer’s assis­tant and this topic was sug­gested by new bul­letin board mem­ber Ray. Thanks Ray!‚ Becom­ing a pho­tog­ra­phy assis­tant is a great way to learn how pho­tog­ra­phy is done in the ‘real world’ with real world pres­sures. It is a great way to decide if being a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher is really what you want to do. This pod­cast sug­gests some good ways to get your foot in the door. If vis­i­tors read­ing this have addi­tional ideas, leav­ing a com­ment would be most appreciated.

Links men­tioned in this pod­cast:
May’s Nos­tal­gia assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum
See and vote on April 2009’s mem­ber images
Pho­tog­ra­phy jobs (dif­fer­ent USA list­ings — some for pho­tog­ra­phy assistants)

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :) Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. I Sub­scribe with iTunes I Sub­scribe via RSS feed I Sub­scribe with Google Reader I Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email
You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Photography.ca winning member images from April 2009

For the past few months we have added a new fea­ture on our pho­tog­ra­phy bul­letin board where the Admin on Photography.ca (Me, Marko), chooses 1 photo that he thinks is great and talks about the photo. The pen­guin photo below titled A zoo more by Siejones was my choice for this month. (check the pre­vi­ous link for the explanation).

We have lots of pho­tographs being sub­mit­ted each month on our forum for cri­tiques, assign­ments or just to show the photo. Choos­ing Siejones’s photo as the ‹“win­nerž took many hours of care­ful sift­ing. Given that it took so long to choose, I came across many many many close con­tenders. Seems like a waste of time just to include 1 photo so Ižd like to include 4 hon­ourable men­tions right here.

If you havenžt joined our forum I would encour­age you to do so. We are an extremely friendly bunch that share and learn daily.

Herežs the win­ning photo by Siejones:

A zoo more by Siejones


Here are the 4 hon­ourable men­tions in no par­tic­u­lar order:

A Mallard’s Por­trait by Michaelaw

A Walk On Deck by Lovin

Cloud bank BW by Barefoot

Gui­tarist by AcadieLibre

Cameras and Manual Mode

Using Man­ual Mode on your cam­era… daunt­ing to most new­bie pho­tog­ra­phers, but a gem once you know how to use it.

Many new­bie pho­tog­ra­phers steer clear away from Man­ual mode, and Opt for Auto­matic mode instead.‚ Full ‘Auto’ mode chooses every­thing from your ISO, to your shut­ter speed and aper­ture includ­ing whether or not a flash should be used. So really, it gives you a safety net to assure you can grab that shot with­out muff­ing it up. That said, the shot you end up with is based on the CAMERA’s choices not the photographer’s choices.


Man­ual mode how­ever allows you to set both your aper­ture and shut­ter speed sep­a­rately, with­out the cam­era auto­mat­i­cally chang­ing the other to suit. With this in mind, you can be more cre­ative with your shots, and in turn, you can bet­ter under­stand how to get that per­fect shot.

Man­ual mode seems to take more time then, right? Right.

But as a result, it forces you to THINK about your sub­ject at hand, learn about light, shut­ter speed, depth of field and work at per­fect­ing your shot and your craft.

PHOTOGRAPHY FORUM LINK