Past Meetup

Composition exercises: Rule of thirds, balancing, leading lines

This Meetup is past

23 people went


In this meetup we will practice composition. Although there are no fixed rules in photography there are guidelines which can often help you to enhance the impact of your photos. We'll focus on the most basic principles of composition: rule of thirds, balancing and leading lines. There are others principles but we'll try to master the basics first. Ron and I will give brief explanations or you can google these principles and read about them first.

1.Rule of thirds
Imagine that your image is divided into 9 equal segments by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The rule of thirds says that you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect. Doing so will add balance and interest to your photo. Some cameras even offer an option to superimpose a rule of thirds grid over the LCD screen, making it even easier to use.

In both these photos the subjects are roughly along the intersection of lines mentioned in Rule 1

2. Balancing
Placing your main subject off-centre, as with the rule of thirds, creates a more interesting photo, but it can leave a void in the scene which can make it feel empty. You should balance the "weight" of your subject by including another object of lesser importance to fill the space.

The lanterns are only shown partly but the parts shown roughly balance each other

The blue boats balance each other; the fountain in the background and the white post in the middle of the photo balance each other

3. Leading lines
When we look at a photo our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way we view the image, pulling us into the picture, towards the subject, or on a journey "through" the scene. There are many different types of line - straight, diagonal, curvy, zigzag, radial etc - and each can be used to enhance our photo's composition.

The branch is the leading line to the bird

The arm is the leading line to the lamp

We'll meet on Sunday, Oct 14, in Statue Square (same place) at 5:00 pm (same time)