In this video (a part of a free course) professional photographer, Karl Taylor discusses several different aspects of making great photos including lighting, optics, color, and primarily composition.
This interesting video tutorial is part of Taylor’s “Photography Essentials” course (a free online introductory course in photography) and deals with camera basics, exposure, shutter speed, focus, ISO and more. This specific video is the last one in this course and deals mainly with composition.
As Taylor explains it: “although there are compositional guidelines such as the rule of thirds or golden ratio, they are simply that — guidelines. Often, some of the best images completely ignore traditional compositional convention. So why then, is it important to know and understand them?
By following compositional guidelines, although you’re not guaranteed a great image, you will have a much better chance of capturing a good image compared to if you don’t understand composition at all.”
So basically guidelines such as the rules of thirds are tools that you can use to help you get better compositions. Understanding them is important but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you MUST use them every time to make outstanding images and in some cases breaking the rules can actually be a good thing – but in order to break the rules, you first need to understand them.
The rules of thirds are just one compositional rule, there are many others that you can choose to apply depending on your specific shot. Leading lines, for example, can help guide your eye into your shot or into your subject, symmetry can help you minimize distractions and make your subject be seen more clearly, color is another major compositional factor that can help you draw attention to your subject (using juxtaposing colors for example) and also framing which can be created by deliberately placing your main subject in a way that it will be framed using other objects in your image. All of these are techniques that have to do with the basic human visual system and if you learn how to work with it (and in some cases even manipulate it) your images will stand out.
You can check out more of Karl Taylor’s video we posted in the past here on LensVid. We have covered composition and compositional rules like the rule of thirds many times in the past and you can find several videos on this topic – here.