Leeds Hand-On Project in Video and Photography Training Workshop – St Georges Centre, Middleton, Leeds

Photography plays a huge part in today’s world and have great potential to document the factual or express the imaginary. Another exciting day of learning for candidates at the Big Lottery Fund programme , this time at the St George’s Center Middleton in Leeds.

Participants were taught how to shoot in aperture priority and manual mode on their cameras and were given certain rules that guided them throughout the process. There were a few basic rules of composition that they were made to be aware of and practice: Rule of thirds, S Curve Composition and Symmetry. The rule of thirds says that you should place whatever is most interesting or eye-catching in a photo on the intersection of the lines on the photo.  That’s really all there is to it! If you’re shooting a portrait, decide which eye of the model is the focal point of the image.  Usually, it’s the eye closest to the camera.  Then, adjust the framing of the picture until the eye is on the intersection of the imaginary tic-tac-toe board.  Bingo!  You followed the rule of thirds. The same is true when shooting a landscape.

The “S” Curve – helps the viewer’s eye toward objects you wish to emphasize; also, a pleasing pattern.

Symmetry – The exact correspondence of form on the opposites sides of a dividing line. Our eye demands symmetry. SYMMETRY IS IMPORTANT! Our eyes have been exposed to symmetry or near-symmetry since the day we were born and our MIND now demands it … is conditioned to it.  So, it is a factor that cannot be ignored. If you are presented with a scene that has symmetry you should not ignore it. You should do your best to compose that photograph precisely so that you emphasize and balance the scene. If you do ignore the apparent symmetry, you will create an unbalanced picture that is uncomfortable to the human eye.

The REAL Rule of Composition

Ask most amateur photographers in the world what composition is, and 90% of them would answer something like “The rule of thirds and leading lines.”  Those are certainly important principles to follow, but I have found that these basic principles are far too simplistic.

When I go out and shoot, I usually find that trial-and-error is the only way to get strong compositions.  I loosely follow the rule of thirds and other compositional principles, but mostly it’s about getting down low and shooting up, or finding something to stand on to shoot down, or moving my tripod an inch here an an inch there, and really playing around until everything in the picture looks balanced and solid.  Don’t over-analyze the rules.




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