10 camera techniques to master in 2014: how to position your subject in the frame
In this section we’ll show you how to position your subject within the frame and make the best use of the space.
Besides choosing what to shoot and the best settings to use, learning the basics of composition is one of the fundamental ways to improve your results.
There are plenty of rules and theories about what makes the perfect composition, but the key thing that you should think about when taking your shots is where to position the main subject in your image.
Rule of Thirds
It’s tempting to put the subject in the centre of the frame, but this can produce static-looking compositions. It’s often much better to put the subject just off centre.
The classic approach is to use the rule of thirds, which is defined by imaginary ‘lines’ that divide each side of the image into three equal-sized areas. You then position the main subject on one of these lines, or where they intersect.
Make good use of space
The space around your subject is nearly as important to the success of your composition as the subject itself. First of all, you need to think about how much of the subject’s surroundings you want to include in your shot.
This isn’t an exact science, but as a general rule you should include the surroundings if they add to the photo, such as showing the environment around the subject in a portrait or wildlife image.
Alternatively, a tighter composition that excludes the surroundings can help to make the main subject dominate the image.
Space to move
One key aspect of using space in your shots is particularly applicable to action shots and portraits. When looking at images of moving subjects, you naturally look ahead into the area that it’s travelling towards.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to leave more space ahead of the subject for it to move into than there is behind it, otherwise your shot can end up looking rather unbalanced.
Portraits can also benefit from a similar composition technique. Leaving some space on the side that your subject is looking into instantly creates a considerably more balanced composition.
Camera Techniques for 2014: 01 Take control of focus
Camera Techniques for 2014: 02 Get white balance accurate every time
Camera Techniques for 2014: 03 How to focus on moving subjects
Camera Techniques for 2014: 04 How to use exposure compensation
Camera Techniques for 2014: 05 Ways to cope with high-contrast lighting
Camera Techniques for 2014: 06 How to position your subject in the frame
Camera Techniques for 2014: 07 Learn basic TTL flash techniques
Camera Techniques for 2014: 08 Sharpen photos like a pro
Camera Techniques for 2014: 09 How to control the saturation of colours
Camera techniques for 2014: 10 Add depth by using different apertures
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