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3 WAYS TO BREAK THE RULES IN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

April 12, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

20170919_JMS_Iceland_677-33620170919_JMS_Iceland_677-336

Good composition is a must for any image.  There are many different elements of composition to think about when determining your final image.  Where to place the subject?  The horizon? Are my colors complementary or analogous?  How much negative space should my image have?  These are just a few.  If you have studied composition then you know about some of the "rules" of composition such as the rule of thirds, use odd numbers over evens or leave breathing room for animals.  Today I am going to give you three "rules" to break to make your images stand out from the crowd.

Rule Breaker #1

Both rule breaker #1 and #2 have to do with moving away from the rule of thirds.  This is the easiest to break since it has the word "rule" it in it makes you feel more naughty when doing so.  First, let's look at what is the rule of thirds:

Rule-of-thirdsRule-of-thirds

The rule of thirds essentially breaks your frame into three parts vertically and horizontally.  Each line represents a place where you might want to place your horizon depending on the scene.  This works both vertically and horizontally.  If the sky is more important, you place the horizon on the bottom third line.  If the foreground is more important you place the horizon on the upper third line.  Remember that you don’t have to be exact, anywhere close will do.

The intersection of the lines is a great place to place your subject.  Whether that is a rock, a person, a building, anything that you are placing emphasis on in your photo, you can place at one of the intersections.  

Rule breaker #1 is to place your subject right in the middle and not on one of the intersections.  This says to the viewer that this is the subject that counts and "look at me!".  In the image below I placed the sea stack in the middle of the frame.  Take that rule of thirds!

20170919_JMS_Iceland_677-33620170919_JMS_Iceland_677-336View from Dyrhólaey, Iceland

Placing your subject in the center of the frame.  

Rule Breaker #2

Again, let's break the rule of thirds.  This time by placing the horizon line in the middle.  The easiest way to do this is when photographing reflections.  When placing the horizon in the middle with reflections you get symmetry, another powerful composition element in its' own right.

Silkstone-140925_0333Silkstone-140925_0333Reflections just off of Route 1.

Placing the horizon in the middle of the frame

Rule Breaker #3

And finally, most people will tell you that an odd number of objects in an image looks better and more pleasing to the viewer than an even number of object or subjects.  This is not always the case as the image below demonstrates.  In this image two trees make a well balanced and well composed image.  I guess no one ever told them to add a third.

Silkstone-151012_0449_255Silkstone-151012_0449_255

Using an even number of subjects as opposed to an odd number

Compositional elements are used for a good reason.  They create compelling images and help the viewers' eyes to wander around the frame.  But if anyone tells you you must use them then just remember the three "Rule Breakers" mentioned here and create a little mischief!

Explore | Compose | Capture | Publish


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