Rule of thirds
I’ve had the privilege of being taught photography by one of the best wedding photographers (My Uncle) who was based in London and photographed a number of 60/70s celebrities.
I feel it’s vital that I pass on my experience to any that asks questions with regards to Photography, it’s important that this Art is passed onto future generations, how awful if photography became just purely auto, I did write a small article (HERE) just recently about a particular thought that was put to me from a media student!
I was recently asked to spend a few hours with a class of media students and give a small talk about photography. Now I must admit I love photography with a passion and tend to go from aperture settings through to metering in one go when I’m explaining photography to my Daughter, therefore as she quite rightly told me ‘you need to talk about just one point Dad or you might lose them if you explain everything in one lesson’ yep she was spot on and so I thought hard about what I felt was maybe the first thing anyone should think about and practice before getting into the more detailed specifications about photography!
As you may know, the reason for my blogs/articles are firstly as a kind of diary for me, it helps me think about my photography however an added (hopefully) benefit in my articles are that others may find them informative and interesting.
So this blog is going to be based on my choice for the media talk, it’s going to help me put into my own words, what I feel, is as important as understanding the basics when an apprentice chef has to understand how salt and pepper adds seasoning to food.
I can remember many years ago, when I was attending a wedding as a guest, I was standing with my wife in the wedding breakfast Banqueting hall, I was chatting to the official wedding photographer, when the huge oak door opened and the stunning Bride, stepped into the room, when she saw us, she, in a very sensuous manner, lent against the doorframe, I and my wife saw this incredible Photo opportunity and the photographer snapped away whilst the Bride flirted with the camera. I must admit I was envious, because I could visualise in my (photographer’s) eye how this photo would look!
Well, the official photographer, very happily said “that’s a picture!” However when I looked down at the image on the rear of the camera, I was amazed, (not in a good way) the photo my wife and I had imagined was nowhere to be seen, the image on the camera was absolutely awful, yes awful, how the hell did he manage to take a photo of that moment in time and make such a hash of what should have been a superb image?
My first point here is “the passion that we feel as individuals absolutely transfers itself onto the sensor of the camera, just as a chef somehow puts the passion into his food and we as diners taste the passion in the meal!
As a photographer, we have to feel a connection to the subject in order to draw the viewer into the image, just as a formula one racing driver is a natural, great photographers are natural. We need to see things that others miss, become driven, become passionate, want to learn, practice practice, become a natural photographer!
Ok, so now I’m going to take the illustration I spoke of previously and take it a step further.
Write from the beginning of photography, with the earliest of masters such as Fox Talbot, good framing of the subject has always been true.
If we think about this, it doesn’t matter how perfect the exposure, if the scene or subject is framed incorrectly, the image is damaged photographically!
Let’s just say, a child is sat picking daisies, beautiful lighting, wonderful scene, your exposure is set perfectly, snap, you take the picture, the child moves but you’ve got the photo! However when you check the shot, you missed her hand picking the daisy! Framing the scene is vital.
For many years the framing in thirds has been the way many photographers setup the shot, it’s very simple and several cameras these days can display the framing guidelines in the viewfinder but is framing in thirds still as important today or can we break the rules?
Well yes, I think we can sometimes, when looking at a particular scene, it feels right to think differently, we see photos now where the image has been cropped, sometimes, looking at things differently produces a photo that force’s a reaction away from the norm! Just a small word of warning here, with wedding photography one must ensure that the important images are nailed first, always give yourself plenty of scope, be aware that not all clients would necessarily understand a certain style of crop, for instance I try hard to stay clear of the angled shots, sometimes this can look beautiful for a bridal portrait however just be thoughtful when being artistic, not all things work!
But on the whole thinking in thirds will provide you with a great guide that will help the viewer feel calm when looking at your work. Now we don’t need to be absolute with this, try not to get too technical but sense the image, get an inner feeling for the subject and then if the image feels calm for your eyes you’ll be pretty much on target!
So before we begin the journey of learning the technical side to Photography, the aperture settings, how they effect light, or shutter speeds, ISO, let’s just take our cameras for a walk and learn the art of framing!