Lesson 1: Composition Part 1

Composition Part One

Learning good composition skills is the key to becoming a good photographer. The basics are something that should become ingrained in your mind whenever you point your camera at a subject. These are some of the basic concepts you should understand: (Click on the photos to see the full sized version)

Rule of Thirds
Rule of Thirds

• Rule of Thirds is a composition technique that allows you to “balance” the elements in a photograph. You can achieve this by dividing your picture into three equal horizontal and vertical sections (see photo, left). The focal point of the picture should fall either into one of the three regions, or onto one of the areas where the lines intersect. In this case, the sign on the roof is the focal point, and it falls onto the intersection of the upper two lines.





Horizon Line
Horizon Line

• Horizon Line is a real or imaginary line that runs horizontally across the picture. The main purpose of the horizon line is to ensure that the picture is not crooked. The yellow line in this photo is the horizon line. It’s easier if you think of horizon as “horizontal” as the horizon line could be the top of a white board in a classroom, the roofline of a building, etc.







Focal Point

• Focal Point is the main element or area in the picture that your eye is drawn to. The focal point generally falls into an area as described above in the rule of thirds. In the picture on the right the focal point is the dogs at the bottom of the page.  Note that they fall along the lower line of the rule of thirds grid.










Leading Line

• Leading Line is a real or imagined line that leads your eye through the picture and to the focal point. In this picture the leading line is the street itself.  Your eye starts at the lower left corner of the picture and moves to the apartment at the center of the photo.

As you shoot your photos for this assignment pay close attention to these basics rules of composition. Remember, you will NOT be allowed to use Photoshop to correct any discrepancies in your pictures. Click Here to go directly to the assignment.