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Old Feb 13, 2004, 12:26 PM   #1
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Default Center of interest...isn't

There's something we all do, even those of us who know better: we place the center of interest in the center of the frame. I thought the following would help all of you who are, essentially, new to photography. For the rest of us, we could consider this a nag. I don't know about you, but unless I nag myself about it, I make the mistake again and again. Okay, here goes:

The ancient Greeks devised a method for finding perfect proportions. It's called the "golden section." Since it requires math calculations, it isn't much help when you're crawling on your belly in the dirt photographing ants. Thus, photographers use a simpler method that works well. They divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically:



The red circles represent the ideal target spots for the main interest in a photograph. This is an easy-to-visualize system when your eye is plastered to the viewfinder.

Along with locating the center of interest in one of those four spots, it helps to include something in the picture that works just like a road that leads to a destination. In this case, we want something that leads the eye to the subject of our photo:



Roads are fine, but anything can work this way, be it a line of trees, the back of a chair, the tops of the heads of people--anything that creates an imaginary path.

When we place our subject at dead center, it appears and feels dead, without movement, too stable and peaceful to attract attention beyond that first glance. Compare the first photo where the moon is centered with the second photo where it's at the top left target point:





Pay attention to where your eyes go as you look at the two photos. If the photos were larger, it would be easier to feel the eye path, but the composition here is simple enough that, hopefully, you can detect it.

End of Basic Composition 101.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 12:48 PM   #2
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Default Thanks, Barbara

that's a great tip for me (camera illiterate)! :lol:
I'll remember that for my shots...................
well, maybe not the action shots I'm trying to take of my daughter's basketball team. With that I'm just happy to get them in the picture at all. I took a picture of the cheerleaders tossing one of the girls in the air and all I managed to get of the "tossee" was her lower legs and feet!
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 1:10 PM   #3
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Darlene--

It's nice to have the leisure in which to compose a shot, but we don't always have that, which is something you obviously already know. But just as the traditional film photographer crops in the darkroom, so we digital photographers can do it in our photo-editing software.

If you can, back off a little in your photos, leaving room to crop later on. This can also help avoid those dreaded amputations--something I'm constantly guilty of.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 1:26 PM   #4
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Default another great tip!

thanks! I do tend to want to zoom in on my subject. i'll remember that i can crop later!! thanks again.
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 5:42 PM   #5
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Nice tip, Barbara
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 6:00 PM   #6
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And I thought that option on my camera's lcd was to check the colour convergence! VOX
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 6:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
And I thought that option on my camera's lcd was to check the colour convergence! VOX
What option is that?
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 9:36 PM   #8
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Acutlly, several cameras do that. Two that come to mind are the Nikon N80 and D100.
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 7:11 AM   #9
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WHAT are you guys TALKING about?! Wait a minute...

Are you saying that some cameras come with the option of displaying the four intersecting lines on the LCD? I can't imagine trying to compose anything using the LCD on a sunny day.
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 11:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoultry
WHAT are you guys TALKING about?! Wait a minute...

Are you saying that some cameras come with the option of displaying the four intersecting lines on the LCD? I can't imagine trying to compose anything using the LCD on a sunny day.
Not only the lcd, but also the viewfinder. My old fuji 6900 had the option of turning it on or of, but that camera had an electronic viewfinder.

With my new 10D i sometimes miss it . (one of the very few things i miss)
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