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Use Compositional Techniques to Create Exciting Photos

Professional photographers consistently take great photos because they've developed an eye for taking them. It's easy to develop your own eye by understanding just a few basic elements of photographic composition -- then you, too, can elevate el·e·vate  
tr.v. ele·vat·ed, ele·vat·ing, ele·vates
1. To move (something) to a higher place or position from a lower one; lift.

2. To increase the amplitude, intensity, or volume of.

 your pictures from mundane (jargon) mundane - Someone outside some group that is implicit from the context, such as the computer industry or science fiction fandom. The implication is that those in the group are special and those outside are just ordinary.  to exciting.

The Rule of Thirds

Most beginners aim their cameras directly at a subject so it appears in the dead center of their photos. This type of bulls-eye composition is boring. And it doesn't help that most cameras have an autofocus autofocus

a camera system in which the lens is focused automatically

Noun 1. autofocus - an optical device for focussing a camera or other instrument automatically
 mark in the viewfinder The preview window on a camera that is used to frame, focus and take the picture. On analog cameras, the viewfinder is an eye-sized window that must be pressed against the face. Point-and-shoot digital cameras use small LCD screens that are viewed several inches from the eyes.  that's located dead center.

A more effective way of composing com·pose  
v. com·posed, com·pos·ing, com·pos·es
1. To make up the constituent parts of; constitute or form:
 a photograph is to locate the center of interest (such as the subject's eye) at one of the third points, which are one-third of the way in from any corner of the picture space. Imagine that your viewfinder is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Locate your center of interest at an intersection of these lines for greater impact.

Not all subjects benefit from a one-third type placement. Use your own judgment when deciding how best to compose com·pose  
v. com·posed, com·pos·ing, com·pos·es
1. To make up the constituent parts of; constitute or form:
 your photographs and attempt different compositions using the same subject. Remember, you can easily delete shots that don't work for you. 

Leading Lines

A way to draw the viewer's eyes to your point of interest in a photograph is to include leading lines in your shot. These are simply one or more lines using minor objects pointing toward the subject of interest. Leading lines take the form of fences, roads, bridges, tree branches, furrows in the ground, or any other series of objects in the picture space. 

Shapes, Patterns, and Textures

Additional compositional elements that help you achieve pleasing photos include various shapes, patterns, and textures. Look for shapes such as circles and triangles. A very effective shape that expert photographers and artists have used for many years is the S-curve, which is simply an S-shaped curved line. The renowned 20th-century landscape photographer Ansel Adams used the S-curve in its most effective manner in a famous photograph of the Snake River Snake River

River, northwestern U.S. It is the largest tributary of the Columbia River and one of the most important streams in the Pacific Northwest. It rises in the mountains of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and flows south and west through Idaho, turning north at
 in Wyoming.

Patterns and textures exist in both nature and synthetic objects. Try to photograph textured objects with the light falling on them from a slanted slant  
v. slant·ed, slant·ing, slants
1. To give a direction other than perpendicular or horizontal to; make diagonal; cause to slope:
 angle rather than straight on; slanted light emphasizes the texture of the photographed objects.

When you're photographing any subject, remember the rule of thirds and leading lines, and keep your eyes open for shapes, patterns, and textures. Using any of these techniques will help you develop your eye resulting in more professional-looking shots.
Copyright 2007 eSchool - Digital Photography
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Author:eSchool, Inc.
Publication:eSchool - Digital Photography
Date:May 31, 2007
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