The discussion last time centered around the general topic of image composition. There are so many factors involved in dissecting an image, but it is difficult to argue that composition is the single most important one in creating something that is pleasing to look at.
The "rule of thirds" is a great place to start, but there are some other little things that reinforce the overall composition of an image. This time, we'll look at a couple of them. First is the influence that lightness and darkness have. When you look at an image, your eye is naturally drawn to the lightest area in the photo. So, it makes sense to try to have your main subject as the brightest object in the frame.
Many times, such as when shooting landscapes or skylines, there may be bright white clouds in the sky. These make for beautiful photos, but they tend to fight for the viewer's attention. What to do? Look for "leading lines" to guide the viewer to the main point of interest. Leading lines can be found everywhere — a roadway or path; a stream or river; fences; tree branches. The trick is to position yourself and frame the photo in the viewfinder using these elements. If there isn't a single object that is the subject, as is frequently the case in landscapes, leading lines can be used to help keep the viewer's eyes moving around in the image. By doing this, all of the picture will be seen as a whole.
Negative space is another feature of composition that is useful in providing balance. These areas containing minimal features can help keep a busy area from being too overwhelming. In people pictures, just make sure to keep that negative space in the direction the people are facing. Nothing is more disturbing than to see someone who is looking at or about to run into the edge of an image.
Next time, we'll look at some other things that are useful in enhancing the composition of your photos.