In photography as well as in painting you have certain ‘rules’ to follow when composing your image. OK, there is no must, and sometimes it is even necessary to break these rules.
‘Leading lines’ is one of them, and the rule of thirds is another important one. ‘Leading lines’ means you integrated one or more visual lines inside the image in that way, that they catch your eye and lead it to the main subject.
In this image, the main subject is the waterfall and the stairs coming from the lower left edge are leading with a positive diagonal upwards to the waterfall, while the waterfall is coming from the upper left corner (when only taking the bright and sunny part into account). In addition, they meet near the lower-right crossing of the rule-of-thirds. And the path-waterfall-connection is framed by two trees. Another rule is, to have the important parts brighter than the supplemental parts.
Don’t get me wrong. You can definitely make good images without following these ‘rules’. And sometimes it’s even necessary to break the rules to get a great image. But in general, they are the factor, that makes an image pop out of the mass or distinguish between good and great. So, my advice is, first learn the rules and follow them before you start breaking them intentionally.
Here’s a summary of 9 easy rules for building your image composition on:
- balance the horizon
- leading lines
- try to find diagonals (preferably from the lower left to the upper right corner = positive)
- rule of thirds
- frame your main subject
- bright vs. dark
- prefer landscape mode as it is more natural for our seeing experience
- use completing colors (red and green or blue and yellow)
- fill the frame