|Written by Richard Burke|
There are a number of steps to consider when composing a picture with a camera.¬† In this article we will cover some of the basic things to consider as you look through your viewfinder and zoom in on your subject.
The Rule of Thirds
Use the ‚Äúrules of thirds‚ÄĚ which is the phenomenon of how we view a rectangle and dates back to ancient Greek geometry.¬† The rule is simple and basically divides any rectangle into 9 segments by drawing two horizontal lines and two vertical lines equidistant from the edge.¬† The center square is where we tend to look first and in a photograph is where we expect the subject to be. Do this in your mind as you compose your picture and try to have the main subject close to the center square.¬† As you become more experienced in composition you can learn to exploit this concept by breaking the rule.
Depth of Field
Think about depth of field as you compose the picture.¬† If you are taking a portrait busy backgrounds can be diffused by using a narrow depth of field to make the background blurry and make the subject stand out.¬† A more open aperture (smaller f-stop number) will yield a narrow depth of field.¬† Experimenting with this will help you become more practiced when making quick decisions during image capture.
Lighting is the most important element of photography and can be the most difficult to control.¬† Certain scenic views can only be captured at certain times of day.¬† Flowers tend to have more saturation in diffused light then in harsh direct sunlight. When viewing images our eyes tend to travel to the brightest point first and then to the darker areas.¬† This is known as eye flow and controlling it is a key compositional element.¬† ¬†In the studio or outdoors you can use diffusers and reflectors to help control the light. ¬†If a subject is in shadow consider using fill flash outdoors.
Controlling the shutter speed is also a compositional element.¬† Fast shutter speeds freeze motion and slow shutter speeds cause motion to blur.¬† Adjust the ISO sensitivity and aperture if shutter speed is important to the composition.¬† At a sporting event, for example, high ISO settings and fast shutter speeds are required to freeze motion.
ISO is the speed setting of the film or sensor used in cameras.¬† Higher ISO settings are proportional in the same way as f-stop and shutter speed.¬† If the ISO setting is 400 and you change it to 800 it is the equivalent of opening the aperture one f-stop.¬† Increasing the shutter speed to 1600 or 3200 will allow the photographer to take pictures in low light situations without flash.¬† The image will look grainier the more the ISO setting is increased.
TIP:¬† Use a high ISO settings to take pictures at concerts without flash.