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Introduction 

This blog post will discuss the use of three design elements used in successful photographic compositions. These are: rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field.

Rule of Thirds

Professional Example

Nike rule of thirds

This unaltered photograph was taken by Tim Tadder, in a collaboration with Built by Built and Nike Vision. It was part of  his “Nike Vision 2017 Training Collection.” This image was courtesy of Tim’s portfolio on Behance, found at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/51919173/Nike-Vision-2017-Training-Collection

 

draw over rule of thirds professional

This altered photograph highlights how the photographer utilized the photographic element of rule of thirds. With the rule of thirds, the goal is to make an imaginary grid that breaks the photograph into three columns and three rows. Part of the photograph should line up at (or near) one or more of these intersections, to create a more balanced composition. The photographer used this design element by placing the athlete’s bicep at the top left intersection, the knuckles of a hand in line with the vertical line on the right, a foot at the bottom right intersection, and part of the Nike logo at the bottom left intersection.

rule of thirds personal

This photograph was personally taken by me The purpose of this photograph was for me to better understand and apply the rule of thirds.

draw-over rule of thirds personal

This altered photograph relates to the professional example because I also added a grid that breaks the photograph into three columns and three rows. I utilized the photographic element of rule of thirds by having the hood of the jacket line up with the top left intersection. For the top right intersection, I have the other side of the inner edge of the hood in close proximity to it. For the bottom right intersection, it lines up with the edge of a hand. The jacket sleeve in is line with the left vertical line, and one of the eyes is in line with the vertical line on the right.

Leading Lines

Professional Example

professional example of leading lines

This unaltered photograph was taken by Frank Zschieschang, It was part of  his “Hong Kong Impressions” collection. This image was courtesy of Frank’s portfolio on Behance, found at:  https://www.behance.net/gallery/52313739/Hong-Kong-Impressions

draw-over of professional leading lines

This altered photograph highlights how the photographer utilized the photographic element of leading lines. With leading lines, the goal is to create movement in the photograph by having imaginary lines all meet at a single point. The photographer used this design element by having all the streets converge at a point in the far distance of the background. This helps the viewer’s eyes to move through the photograph more smoothly and to be able to intake the whole photograph without interruption.

personal photo

This photograph was personally taken by me. The purpose of this photograph was for me to better understand and apply the element of leading lines.

draw-over of personal leading lines photo

This altered photograph relates to the professional example because it also shows a point of convergence, which help the viewer’s eyes to move through the photograph more easily. These lines of the street and sidewalks converge to the left edge of the photograph, near the center.

Depth of Field

Professional Example

depth-of-field-professional

This unaltered photograph was taken by Frank Zschieschang, It was also part of  his “Hong Kong Impressions” collection. This image was courtesy of Frank’s portfolio on Behance, found at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/52313739/Hong-Kong-Impressions

draw over depth of field

This altered photograph highlights how the photographer utilized the photographic element of depth of field. With depth of field, the goal is to create the focus of the photograph to be either the foreground or the background, with adjustment of the aperture. The photographer used this design element by placing the focus on the hill and buildings in the foreground. The image is more sharp, clear and more defined, whereas the background becomes faded and blurred. The red lines on this image circle around which parts of the photograph are more faded and not as sharp.

 

personal photo depth of field

This photograph was personally taken by me. The purpose of this photograph was for me to better understand and apply the depth of field element.

draw-over-depth-of-field-me

This altered photograph relates to the professional example because I also used red lines to show which parts of the photograph are out of focus. In this case, it is the grass in the background while the focus is put onto the deck bars. I was able to accomplish this by setting my aperture to be more open.

Summary

In summary, this post has discussed and shown how the photographic elements of rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field can contribute to a successful photographic composition.

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