Composition Rules – Interpreting Images

If you have already read my two other posts related to commonly used clichés in compositions (Composition Rules – Part I, Composition Rules – Part II) , then try to interpret some of the images below. I have also given an explanation why the photograph appears strong but read that after you have formed your own opinion about which common composition rules or clichés are in play. Remember your own opinion is more important that these so called rules, which quite frequently I despise of.




(Nikon D200 with Nikkor 18-35mm at 18mm, f/8, 1/90 sec, ISO 100)

The deck on the foreground is connected to the deck on the upper part with the plank on the left side of the image. This plank works by leading the eye from the foreground to the distant. The diminishing size of the plank conveys a feeling of depth which was achieved by going close and clicking with a wide angle lens.  The image follows the Rule of Thirds in placement of the plank. The subjects are three in number – foreground deck, plank and the distant deck with railing.




(Nikon Df with Zeiss 25mm, f/5.6, 1/13, ISO 800, -2EV)

Leading Lines guide the eyes along the the handrail and stairs. The wideangle lens has exaggerated the perspective of height, adding depth to the image. The post on the right part of the image along with the stairs roughly follows the Golden Ratio  or Fibonacci Spiral. The -2 Exposure Compensation adds drama by darkening the right part of the image and showing the usage marks on the stairs and rails.

This was photographed in a church. What was obviously attractive was the alter and the old benches, and it seemed that everyone visiting the church was photographing those. I was equally impressed by the old architecture and various angles it created. This is one of the photographs that I captured in that church.


Palm Leaf with Salt Deposits

Palm Leaf

(Nikon Df with Zeiss 25mm, f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO 100)

Going Close and by filling the frame, the subject has gained importance. The repeated pattern of the leaf adds character to it. Rule of Thirds is followed in placing the subject. The salt deposits on the leaf are further brought to attention by the converging lines of the leaf, Empowering the subject.

The leaf with the salt deposits was not obvious from distance. It was just a part of a green patch next to a well manicured lawn. It attracted me. The coverging lines were powerful and the salt added a texture to it. (Do read this too – Learning to Visualize)



floating ring buoy

(Nikon Df with Nikkor 50mm, f/4.5, 1/25 sec, ISO 4000, -2 EV, post processed to reduce noise)

The image was created later after the sunset. The buoy was lit by a lamp and had slightly brighter light levels than the sky. Color Theory helps the red-orange subject pull the attention towards itself. The off-center placement strengthens the composition. The tree itself on which the life buoy is hung tends to bring the focus back to the buoy by Empowering it.

I had photographed the buoy a little earlier in the evening too. The sky was not so dark and the lamp was still not switched on. The earlier photographed lacked the impact this one has. The buoy was overpowered by the bright sky, which was also reddish in color then.


Blue Rocks

Blue Rocks

(Nikon Df with Nikkor 50mm lens, f/5, 1/20 sec)

The rocks had a bluish tinge to it which was further exaggerated by the rains which had wet the rocks. The Color Theory in action here. The harmony achieved by the shades of blue and green are easy for the brain to look at with a dash of pink on the top left adding drama. This negative space above and left of the rocks gives a feeling of height to the main element.  Lines across the rocks help in guiding the eyes across the image and the diagonal border of the rocks with sky beyond it forms a powerful boundary to the rocks.


Use them but learn to go beyond

Photographers call these rules of photography. I call them Clichés. By whatever names these are called, in reality these are just some things that seem to work. However do not stick by these all the time.

Edward Weston has rightly said- “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”

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