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  • Writer's pictureRebekah

RCP Photography School: Composition

Hello to all who’ve joined me on day 3 of this 26 day challenge to learn about the basics of photography.

If you have just joined me, why not read about why aperture is so important to learn, and and how to get creative with bokeh photography. of the photography course

If you’re doing this course, you probably already know a little bit about me but if you don’t, please check out who I am.

Today I’m going to talk about...

C for Composition

Composition involves looking at the subject or landscape you are about to photograph, as a whole picture, and looking for cues - are there leading lines? are you using the 'rule of thirds'? is there odd numbers of objects in view? is there movement?

But how do you even begin to put these into practice?

Here are a few examples to give you a better eye-opener on what to look for when photographing things you see throughout the day; people you love to spend time with; and things you enjoying doing.

Leading Lines

There are so many examples I could show you on this, but to give you a better idea, here is the image and then the image broken down to show you where the eyes lead. Leading lines take your eye from one area of the photo to the other.

This is a photo from last year, at Ballintoy Harbour, but to give you a vision of what leading lines are, they will start from the edges of the photo and work their way towards the middle. Leading the eye to the middle. This is achievable during your daily walks and looking for lane ways, car roads, looking up at the trees... Endless possibilities!

Rule of Thirds

This is something I will cover later on, but will touch on briefly because this is a massive part of composition. Think of a grid with 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, equally spaced out. Then place that over the image you are going to take. What tree, object, person falls into the line or lines? Rule of thirds evenly spread out important parts of your photograph.

This image was taken at Killylane Reservoir as the sun was setting, and the glow on the trees gave me this vision of using the 'rule of thirds' technique. The snowy ground, the trees and the sky were 3 parts to the image. It can work vertically as well. You can make the focus the your object or subject, and still use the rule of thirds. Or you can place the person or object in a 'box' below. Don't be afraid to get creative.

Odd Numbers

It's amazing to think odd numbers make the composition of an image perfect. I actually hate odd numbers - for example, if I have 3 chocolate buttons, I must have another to make it even, it's only right!

When thinking of odd numbers in an image, you want to look for people or objects, or maybe use your parent or pet and place them in front of you to photograph.

This is an example of getting creative. You can see 2 trees, but you can also see 3 bollards in the light. Some may argue this isn't a good example, but I think it's great. The light is the first thing you may see, then the 2 trees, but then it leads you to the bollards.


Movement in composition can also be part of a great eye-catching photograph. This can be children or animals running around, or water flowing, or moving light. This requires you to know how to use your shutter speed, which I will talk about later on, but if you have a good idea, use a slow shutter speed but making sure your lens is allowing enough light in to be bright enough - for example, using 1/10 of the shutter speed, at aperture f/4 and ISO 400 can help create slow/blurred movement in the water at a waterfall or river. Movement can be photographed during the day and the night - during the day, you can photograph the tap running, children scrambling around the house, cars moving along the road; during the night, you can photograph cars moving along the road as well as the stars in the sky, which are also called light trials.

I found this local reservoir whilst out for a daily walk, and it was amazing to be able to show movement in the image, through long exposure. See how I framed the photograph as well. Using the rule of thirds and leading lines, as well as odd numbers (the image can be split into 3 vertically).

What did you learn today? I hope that it gives you a different perspective on how you 'create' your photograph. Why not take your camera and go for a walk today or tomorrow, and see what you can come up with.

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