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Thursday, May 27

A guide to composition

Want to know how to compose better pictures? Here's a few tips:

1. Rule of thirds
Imagine dividing your image into a grid comprising of nine squares. The idea of rule of thirds is to place the focal point (eg: a person, a flower) of your image at any point where the lines of the squares intersect. Doing so would make your picture look more dynamic/interesting as opposed to placing the focal point at the center. (this may be familiar to architecture students)

Rule of thirds can also be used in placing horizons (for landscapes). You may choose to place the sky at the upper 1/3 if the scenery is more interesting - conversely, if the sky is more interesting, you can include more of the sky and place the scenery (land) at the bottom 1/3 of the picture.

2. Lead-in lines
Lead-in lines in a picture will guide the viewer's eyes into the scene. Ideally, the focal point should be placed along these lines, creating a sense of suspension. (eg: building at the end of a road) Lead-in lines can comprise of anything: fences, rivers, roads and so on. It is suggested that lead-in lines be placed diagonally.

3. Foreground interest
The basic idea of foreground interest is to place a nearby object to emphasize depth and perspective when you plan to shoot distant sceneries (eg: sunset on the sea). A foreground can comprise of any object: rocks, branches, leaves, so on. A high f-stop number is recommended (SLRs: F/13-F/20, Compacts: Landscape mode or anything with increased sharpness), along with a wide focal length (lower than 30mm). 


Most importantly, do remember that this is only a guide, NOT rules that you should follow rigorously. How you plan to compose your picture is entirely up to your creativity.

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