Adventures in Photography Class – Ep. 6: Composition (Part 2)

Good early morning/late evening. Sorry for my lack of posting over the past week. I was super sick all last week, and then yesterday, I was busy cleaning my room and preparing stuff for my spring break trip to Florida. I’m super excited! It’s my first and last time ever celebrating spring break, and I think I’ve chosen a pretty epic vacation (just wait for all the pictures). Plus, I got some other awesome news at the start of the week, but I’ll save that for later since I want to take a picture first to somehow adequately symbolize the news. Until then, I’ve got the second part of my composition assignment from my photography class and I think you all will love it:

Rule of Thirds

Comp_Rule of Thirds

Isn’t it cute?! This is my little Big Bird plush that my friend Megan got me from a trip she took to South Carolina with a friend a few years back. She knew how much I loved Sesame Street, so she got him for me. And when my professor told us that we’d be working on composition, I got the brilliant idea to use Big Bird.

So the rule of thirds states that a visual representation is (theoretically) more aesthetically appealing when placed pretty much anywhere but the center. Rule of thirds is based on the notion that all scenes can be viewed on a nine-part grid (two horizontal and two vertical lines) which encourages the artist to place the subject of the piece at the intersections of the grid. For instance, in a photo of a sunset, the horizon wouldn’t be in the middle, but rather, the photo could be two-thirds sky, one-third land (or vice versa). In the photo above, Big Bird is off-center, at the intersections formed on the left side of the photo (assuming you can picture the grid). This rule is important because it makes for a much more interesting photo than just placing the subject dead on. However, one should not fall for the thought that centering the subject is always bad. It all depends on what look one is trying to achieve.

Simplicity

Comp_Simplicity

And then there’s this beauty. If you notice the common thing in both pictures is the use of bokeh. Before I explain the last component of my assignment, I should probably explain why I bothered to play around with the bokeh effect. Truthfully, I think it’s absolutely beautiful. But it also had to do with the fact that I wanted to try a true bokeh shot since I had the equipment to make it work. This was an experiment in manual focus as well as a bit of makeshift studio lighting. Since this was being conducted inside and I needed enough light to light the main subject while still seeing the colors of the Christmas lights, I used my desk lamp to provide the overhead lighting I needed to capture the main subject without washing out my Christmas light strand.

And thus the above was born. Simplicity was the other technique we covered with composition, and in all honesty, I think it’s the most important of the four. Why? Easy: some of the best photos are simple. There’s not a lot of clutter. And in general, that’s how photos should be. No random trash cans in the background or a million people to focus on in a portrait. Not to say that a more complicated scene can’t make a good photo, because it certainly can. But for the purposes of this assignment, simple was better. My little Eiffel Tower is all by its lonesome with the bokeh in the background. The scene isn’t complicated, though there is a level of complexity to it in terms of the overall aesthetic. I will admit, I am really proud of this photo and the others I took that are like it, but you’ll have to wait to see those.

Well, I’m going to haul my little behind off to bed. I’ve still got to finish packing and cleaning in the morning. So much to do, so little time. I just want it to be time for me to fly out already. But alas, I must continue to be patient. Patience is rewarding. Trust me. 😀 Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

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