Composition – Stay Out Of The Middle

October 1, 2011

in Instruction

You know what the most common problem I see in new shooters? They put the subject dead center in the frame.

Centered

Don’t do this. There is a no drama. The image is boring. There is no visual flow.

Let’s consider two different crops of the same image. First is Virginia’s rear end centered in the frame.
It’s an interesting shot. Virginia has a fine derrière. The lighting is dramatic from one side and creates a great curve. If that is all you saw, you’d think the image was OK.

Now lets try it how I shot it, with her in the left third of the image. Then I cropped into a film like aspect ratio to exaggerate the composition.

Virginia's Derrière Off Center


Suddenly the lines have a longer path and increase the movement of the eye. This in turn ups the overall drama of the shot and emphasizes the model, even though they aren’t in the center of the frame.

Here’s an exercise to try next time you are shooting. Most cameras have a grid in the view finder with 9 squares. Try and keep all or most of your model out of the center square. Just push them to one side or the other.

If you are close, you might just try and keep their head or eyes out of the center. See if that makes a difference in how the image feels.

Better yet, shoot it both ways and post the two images to the forum for others to see.

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