After talking about some technical aspects here, today I'd like to talk about something placed at the frontier between technical and creative aspects: what I have learnt about how to compose a shot.

We don't know exactly what is beauty, but all of us have experienced the presence of some sort of "universal canon" (OK! I'm a Canon aficionado, LOL). I don't know if I remember well what I read somewhere, all along my life, there is some sort of preferred ratios we human love to look at: I randomly remember Fibonacci series, golden ratio, Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, ...

As all the previous example show, all those ratio have to do with how Nature structures her creatures.

If we look at a human face, it is roughly cut in three horizontally by eyes and mouth.

All these observations bring us to postulate the Rule of Thirds: if we want to build a pleasant image, it is usually best not to center the main subject, but to approximatively place it in one of the intersections of what we obtain by dividing our shot in three, both vertically and horizontally, as you can see in the following Wikipedia shot:

Corollaries of this Law are:

  • place the horizon in one of the horizontal lines
  • place the eyes on the upper horizontal lines in a portrait
  • don't take this rule too seriously

As all the creative rules, we can always break it for a lot of good reasons, but we usually have to compensate with another element of attraction the unpleasant sensation our brain feels.

My A600 had the possibility to show the grid lines in the viewer; I used it sometimes, only to realize that this kind of composition was almost second nature for me.

I know this is a controversial argument, but I think every photographer must know that rule to break it consciously.