Since most of us are stuck inside our homes or yards, I decided to rerun a series I did several years ago, called Cee’s Compose Yourself Lesson (CCYL). This is not a challenge, but I suggest you play with new ideas or ways of looking at taking photos. Hopefully this will fill your day with a little excitement and joy. Please feel free to play along and join in the fun.
Using 2/3 of your photo frame
As I promised in last week’s essay about the Rule of Thirds, I’m going to extend that discussion to cover what I call the Magic of Two-Thirds. Instead of putting your subject in one third of the frame, use two-thirds, leaving the rest bokeh or negative space to accent your subject.
As with the Rule of Thirds, you can use the upper or lower two-thirds or the left or right two-thirds. I use two-thirds a lot with my flower photography, so you’ll see a lot of examples here. It’s great to use for any still life photography.
You can use the top and bottom two-thirds, but I find those are harder for me to frame, especially using the top two-thirds. Top weighted photos can look a little awkward sometimes. They can be quite effective if done right.
But enough words… let’s turn to the things that say a thousand words… some pictures:
Left Two-Thirds: You’ll see me doing this quite often with my flower shots. The bokeh on the right helps define the image.
A different daffodil that takes up the right two-thirds. Reading from the right to left on this photo works because your eye naturally goes to the brightest spot which is on the right and then your eye will natural flow to the left.
Here’s another floral this time a dahlia. See how the blue background sets off the image? You can easily flip the picture and lead with your negative space. Flipping your photos horizontal works on most photos.
I find that using the bottom two-thirds is fun, too. I love this wood carving. Keeping a little negative space at the top of the frame makes you wonder what the man is looking at.
This picture is one of my all time favorites. These hands belong to a 93 year old woman whose wish was to get on a horse one last time. We were there to record that day for her. Her hand lovingly resting on the horse’s neck is made more dramatic by the blackness of the interior of the barn behind her. I like this so much that I’m using it for the badge for this challenge.
This picture has nothing to do with the essay, but I just thought you’d like to see the face that belongs with the hand.
Here’s one that’s bending the two-thirds rule a bit. Maybe it’s more like three-quarters. My point it that if I would have cropped out the one-third that is the sky, the shot of this Tacoma, WA (USA) high school wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.
Now for a couple of top-weighted pictures:
Here’s an example of how I use this in flower photography to create an unusual view. For those who don’t recognize it, this is the underside of a tulip.
Here’s one that’s just fun. I put my cell phone against the wall and shot up toward the ceiling to grab a shot of this wall lamp. My phone is resting against a sign that said you couldn’t use cell phones, and the sign was covered in a clear plastic sheet that acted like a mirror.
And one last top weighted picture of a stormy sunset over the ocean…
- CCYL 1: How Your Camera is Not Like Your Eye
- CCYL 2: What all well-composed photos have in common
- CCYL 3: Always Take More than One Photo
- CCYL 4: Simplicity
- CCYL 5: Leading Lines
- CCYL 6: Horizontal Lines
- CCYL 7: Vertical Lines
- CCYL 8: Diagonal Lines
- CCYL 9: Rule of Thirds Introduction
I’ve gathered a list of challenges and their hosts. So if you know a challenge host, please direct them to my blog. Feel free to contact me anytime. I hope everyone will be able to use my lists.
Qi (energy) hugs