New Blood (Leah Velocity)

Near the end of my last big project I had the pleasure of working with the wonderful Ms. Leah Velocity. Leah and I had been talking off and on for several years but for one reason or another had never found time to work together. Finally the chance came and with Leah adjusting her schedule to work with me late one night we were able to get a shoot completed. She is as wonderful in person as she had been over the Internet. She is so talented that it made my job as a photographer easy and not really like work at all. I explained to her that conceptually I was out of gas due to the 365-project but that I liked stacked lines. She instantly knew what to do and the shoot was perfect. It really pays to work with a model that has so much knowledge of the craft. Amateurs are always fun but nothing beats working with a model that knows what to do and when to do it.

For this first photo Leah was on top of the wire spool I have in a crazy balance posture. I would like to point out her close her feet are to each other. You need to have a lot of time on the yoga mat to hold this pose for any length of time and she made it look as if you could live like this. I love the stern look and expression she held in all of the photos. The emotion or lack of it was the perfect fit to every pose we captured.

Until next time,

JW Purdy

Response of inspiration I hope

A few weeks ago now I received a message from a photographer that had worked with my muse several years ago. Dan and experienced something that scares us all to death, hard drive failure. He wrote me asking if I still had a copy of the photos he had taken and if I could send them to him. I did have a copy and transferred them his way. In our discussion I asked him how things had been going knowing that our experience level and situation was very similar. He stated that he needed more experience and was not satisfied with the results he was achieving. I would like to share my response to him with you in hopes you might gain something from my message to him. I know this is not my regular type of post but I hope you will indulge me.

Thanks,

JW Purdy

Response to Dan:

All I can say is that we are very hard on ourselves as artists. Just keep on plugging away. If you look at and study many of the greats it took decades to prefect their style. I still am at the phase of watching and reading daily about photography. I shoot everyday which really helps. Books, articles and videos only go so far in your learning. I have taken a photo per day for almost two straight years now. I work more now than any other time in the past 5 years but I make myself shoot daily. Our new daily nude photo was started for this purpose. I shot daily the year before but they were not well thought out photos. I really wasn't trying if you know what I mean. I wanted to make myself work harder and be more accountable so I started the site jwpurdy.com back up and invited people to join in on the project. Go give Ted Forbes and his show "The Art of Photography" a look. It gives you a good look at many of the greats and their process of growth and the struggle they had to overcome. Everyone has to pay their dues. I am still just an amateur but am paying my dues now.

I have a wonderful mentor that has been helping me since I got started back in 08'. RJ Warren is awesome and gives me suggestions on what I should be doing next at each step of my journey. Every few years or a couple of times a year we will get together and he always gives me advise on my shooting development. He is such a great teacher and inspiration. He is a very well know fine art/figure study photographer in the Houston area and very generous with his time. I am still a long way off I feel but I am growing. All we can do as photographers is grow. I have, based on his advice, just started the next step in my growth. I can see the following step ahead but I'm not in a rush to get there. Go slow and allow time and experience to train you. Wisdom is earned and not attained in any other way. I know this message is long winded but I really want to encourage you. I think you have great potential. I also think you need to really focus on the task at hand and put in some more effort at improving you skills. Once we master the technical then we can move into showing our own voice. Find the artists that speak to you and copy them, I mean really copy them. Get everything perfect from the lighting, pose, emotion and feel of the photo. Don't worry about the set/background, since they can be very elaborate and out of our means, but get everything else exact. Once you master camera settings, pose, lighting and feel/emotion you will be ready to have people really look at your work. I know we show people our work all the time on social media groups but I mean show people with experience our work and get their feelings and input about it. They have been tested by time and reached levels we dream of reaching.

Once we master this part then we move onto attaining our own voice. We start showing people who we are with our images then we can start trying for putting our work in front of curators. I'm guessing at some of these last steps and may be leaving some out; I'm not there yet.  I have had a few gallery showings, won some awards but I think they were right time right place types of events. Identify someone you truly admire in your area and reach out to them. Most people into photography are the most generous people you will ever meet and love helping someone looking to grow. If I remember correctly you are somewhat like me and make a part of you living behind the lens. If this is the case don't let that lull you into thinking you are a master. The ability to deliver a good product to a client doesn't mean you are at the level of getting your work on a gallery wall. Being a pro-am means you have learned the business of photography and have technical skills but not necessarily a voice. In my last meeting with Mr. Warren he told me to stop taking pretty pictures and start telling stories. As pro-am's we tend to take pretty pictures but not tell stories. I am still working on the technical side while working on my story telling abilities. Again I realize I have used myself as an example a lot in this long reply but please don't take that as I'm a master but just trying to convey where I am in the journey. Keep putting in the hard work and it will pay off in the long run. Let me know when you want to get together and we can get something worked out.

Best wishes,

JW Purdy

The Art of Nude by JW Purdy episode 6 - HPS Print competition

This evening I attended my first month print competition with the Houston Photographic Society in which I entered two prints. The competition was judged by Jim Caldwell who is a very experience commercial photographer based in Houston Texas. Mr. Caldwell stated that some of the elements in one of my photos reminded him of George Krause’s work. This name sounded very familiar but I couldn’t place it. When I got home I asked Shannon, my wife/assistant/muse if she recognized the name and she told me yes of course she did. I asked her to explain and she reminded me she had posed for Mr. Krause during one of his projects. The world really is smaller than you think. This was very fun for my first competition night and Mr. Caldwell gave one of my photos an honorable mention and the other second place. (Sorry in the video I state 3rd as an error) I am very humbled based on the photos I was up against. In today’s video I will be going over a few things Mr. Caldwell was nice enough to point out about my images. 

Hiring an Art Nude Model

Hiring an Art Nude Model USA Sources

An art model is a person who poses for an artist for the purpose of creativity. There are many types of art works but the most common types used in modelling are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography. You may also use any other medium depending on your personal preferences. Art models are usually paid professionals who pose and provide the human figure in a work of art. Nude art models have been around for a long time and they go way back to the ancient Greece. There are many things which you should do for you to become a successful nude model. First, you have to be comfortable with your body, know a variety of poses and understand the proper protocol. On the other hand, as a photographer, there are many things which you should consider before hiring an art nude model.

What a photographer should expect from a figure model

Professional photographers will always know what to look for in a figure model. However, if you are a new photographer, there are some few things which you should expect from a figure model. By knowing some of these things, your photography will be excellent and your work will be much easier.

As a photographer, you should not be attracted by beauty or unique body types at first glance. These will come later after selecting your figure models. Therefore, you should always go for a model who is comfortable with his/her body. A model who blushes, covers up or tries to show off some flattering parts of the body is not a good candidate. The best candidate should always be comfortable in front of the camera at all times.

Secondly, you should ensure that the figure model is comfortable with the terms and conditions of work. In most cases, nude art modelling sessions run for about three hours with breaks of 10 minutes in average. Your model figure should know the number of poses, types of poses and the amount of breaks granted.

Third, as a photographer, you should know that art is dynamic. This means that your figure model should be expressive from their fingertips to the bottom of their feet. If any of the figure models is good at Yoga, that would be the best choice. Why? Because Yoga exposes most of the muscle reflexes in the body.

Fourth, you should know that each of the different poses can be held for short or long periods. Your figure model should therefore understand these poses. For instance, there are three kinds of poses; gestures, short poses and long poses.

What is the proper edict with shooting a figure model?

As a photographer, you should know that there is a lot of pressure which you will have to deal with when shooting. If you fail, then everything else goes down with you. Yes, you are that important. Therefore, there are some few things which you should do as a photographer:

·        You should agree with your model on time, location and rate. Time is very important in every aspect in life hence both parties should be punctual. In addition, the venue on which the shooting will take place should be convenient for both the photographer and model. For instance, there are some models who are interested in nature or landscape venues. The rate refers to the amount of money to be paid to the model. It may be hourly or fixed price.

·        Next, you should take a photo of the photographer holding his/her ID. In case the model is under age, the parent or guardian should be with them.

·        There is usually a model release which should be signed by the model before the shooting commences.

·        Figure models are not machines, hence you should have a schedule for breaks of say 10 or 20 minutes. There should also be water, light snacks and a changing room.

·        As a photographer you should not touch the model when suggesting poses. Experienced model will always have a variety of poses therefore you will have an easy time. But for new models, you may come with poses from magazines. Music is not always essential.

How to find a figure model

If you have money, you can always go to an agency and hire a model but there are always other options of finding a figure model in USA:

The easiest way is by joining a modelling community website. There are many good websites which will allow you a free membership level. Some of the best website sources include:

·        www.net-model.com

·        www.purestorm.com

·        www.modelmayhem.com

·        www.purpleport.com

·        www.madcowmodels.co.uk

After you locate your model, you should contact them via email. Here, you should let them know what you want and if you are new to model photography you should say so. You should also be prepared for disappointments as some models may not respond while others may never turn up for the shoot.

As a new photographer or new to figure study you should know a few things that can feel intimidating at first. You should encourage the model to bring an escort, especially new models. This will generally make the model feel more at ease. One thing I always tell new models it that jealous boyfriends and husbands don’t make good escorts. If the model will not be able to bring an escort I let them know I will find someone to be my escort. Key Note: If you are shooting a female model you need a female escort and vice-verse. I personally am lucky and have a female assistant that attends all of my shoots and is a semi-retired figure model. Even if you don’t have this built in feature know that two sets of eyes are better than one. As you escort to do a little research prior to the shoot. Ask them to come up with a few ideas on their own.

Once the model arrives introduce yourself and possible your escort. Spend a few minutes learning about your model. Actually listen to your model and don’t just try to over sell yourself. Hopefully you have been honest with the model and he/she knows you are not that experienced at figure study work. Ask the model what they would like to get out of the shoot other than just a few dollars. I have built several long and quality relationships with models I consider to be some of them to be the most awesome people I have ever met.

I recommend you pay your model. I used to shoot TFP (Trade for Print). TFP is where you arrange a trade of the models time for a copy of your prints. I generally don’t do this anymore on the advice of a friend. He stated that it is a pretty hard sell to a judge if a model ever takes you to court. Most judges feel the model is sacrificing so much but fail to see the quality or work you provide. It doesn’t seem right but that is the way the ball bounces. I have at times paid models all I could afford $15 per hour. I know it’s not much but as long as they agree to the rate most people will find it acceptable in my opinion. For your typical shoot this would be a total of $30 plus a copy of the photos. This was the amateur model and you are both benefiting from the work. They are covering the expenses to drive to the location plus makeup as well as getting a few prints for a portfolio. You are getting to meet a potential great model and working partner, images for your portfolio and experience working with the nude figure.

Just take it slow and you will do fine. Now get out there and take a chance. You never know it may be the best thing you have done in a very long time.

 

Happy shooting,

JW Purdy

Fired for amateur modeling completed as a college student.

I submitted a reply to an article I read today in which a teacher was fired from her job due to some amateur model she had done in the past. Please heed my words near the end of my response. Thank you JW Purdy

This doesn't just happen to teachers. I lost a very large banking client due to a web search many years ago. I was receiving a lot of work from them and then it just stopped. I contacted the person in charge of my account and she started looking at my account status to get some clue why I wasn't getting any more work. In the recent notes on my account, a web researcher in India had found my name associated with a nude photo site. The site was indeed my personal website confirmed by the listed URL she gave me. I asked the contact why my hobby caused me to lose them as a client and she had no response. I did receive an official reply from the company weeks later stating that they did not want to be associated with a deviant. A deviant, really, are you kidding me. My site is very professional looking in my opinion and I shoot fine art. I have been mentored by one of the best fine art photographers in Houston. Due to this lost client I changed my working name to my initials and have never looked back. I highly recommend both photographers and models to use pen-names for their figure work just to protect their online reputation. Companies are really starting to use the internet to research every detail of your life before working with you, be careful. Thanks for posting this article.

Golden mean in Fine Art Nude figure study photos

Golden mean (Golden ratio)

Definition: The golden ratio which is also known as the divine proportion, golden mean or golden section is often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as pentagons, pentagrams, decagons, etc. This is the mathematical definition.

In photography the principle behind the golden mean rule is to provide geometric lines which can be followed when viewing a composition. This rule has been used as a major guideline by many artists and it wouldn’t do you any harm as a modern photographer.

History of Golden Mean

Going back to the 12 century, which was the golden age for mathematics, is the era in which the golden mean was developed or invented. All the credit goes to an Italian gentleman known as Fibonacci. So, how does mathematics and photography relate to each other? The one thing keeping these two as relatives is composition. Fibonacci discovered the Golden ratio or Divine proportion from his mathematical studies. It is kind of weird that the main source of this discovery was the breeding habits of rabbits. What he noted was that the ratio he had discovered with the rabbits was applying in most of the aspects in nature. This ratio is 1.61803:1.

As photographers, when we are shooting pictures our eyes are naturally accustomed to seeing the divine proportion. However, if we break this natural ratio the image will appear uncomfortable to our eyes. Rule of thirds is one of the most common techniques in the world of photography – though it is not entirely a Fibonacci rule. It works in such a manner which is very close to the divine proportion. However, if you wish to take your compositions you can apply the Golden mean rule, Golden Rectangle or Golden Spiral.

The Golden Rectangle

It is very similar to the rule of thirds. The difference between the two is that; in the rule of thirds each third is at an equal distance to each other while in the Golden rectangle Fibonacci ratio is used to determine the distance between them. To expand on this statement, if we split our image into three using vertical lines, the distance of the first line from the left in comparison to the second line will be at a ratio 1.618:1. Therefore, the outer boxes will always be larger than the inner boxes. A better composition would be achieved if we use the intersection points of these rectangles. Practically, this might appear a little complicated but when you are shooting you can simply visualize the image on the regular thirds, then simply move those thirds a little more to the center.

The Golden Spiral

This is a very powerful composition rule but is more complex. It uses the principle of increasing the size of a series of boxes using the Golden ratio. The origin or focal point of the composition begins at the corner of the smallest rectangle. A spiral is usually visualized moving out from the smallest box intersecting through the larger boxes and stops at the corner of the largest box. From the intersecting nature of the spiral intersecting through the rectangles creates an appealing image which gives our eyes an easy time in flowing through the image. As stated, this can be quite hard to visualize while shooting a photo but once you locate the primary object, the rest is just a piece of cake.

The Golden Triangle

This is a very important compositional guideline which comes in handy if your photograph has strong diagonal objects. Here you will only need to split your photo into three triangles which have the same angles. The Golden Triangle is very simple and is most efficient with lines.

One diagonal line will pass across the frame from one corner to the next. Another diagonal line will be created from one of the other two diagonals to intersect with the first diagonal.

What makes the Golden mean better than rule of thirds?

The rule of thirds is the most applied rule in photography and it is taken as a manifestation of the Golden Ratio. It is usually claimed that the Rule of Thirds was invented to make it easier for photographers to locate the sweet spot – the eye-catching point.

Even though the rule of thirds works well in most of the situations, the Golden Ratio can offer a better composition. This is simply because it creates a more balanced image.

Take a situation in which you wish to shoot a landscape photo. In most cases, when you use the Rule of Thirds certain elements like the horizon will be left in an awkward position. By simply dividing the frame into thirds will imply that placing the horizon line will be too straight forward. However, with the Golden Ratio the balance will frequently appear more natural and less static.

Composing for the Golden Ratio

The easiest way in which you can compose an image and apply the Golden Spiral is by imagining a small rectangle from one corner of your frame and then bisect it from one corner to another in such a way that an imaginary diagonal line crosses your frame. This line will touch some of the focal points of the Fibonacci Spiral within the rectangle.

You can always perfect your composition by using software such as Adobe Light-room during post processing. This software has a wide range of crop overlays and one of the crops called Golden Spiral is based on the Fibonacci Spiral.

Conclusion

As a photographer it is very important for you to know what makes a photo appealing to the eyes and strong. There are many things which you should have at your fingertips when shooting. Some of them include; color, lighting, shape, composition and more. Therefore, it takes a variety of aspects in creating a fascinating image but if your main concern is just one aspect you can always use the Golden Ratio. Note: There are no strict rules in photography, there are only guidelines to help you become the best photographer. 

Exercise

Go over your portfolio and look for examples of the Golden mean in your current work. In the situation of a very powerful image you have taken that does not appear to follow basic rules of composition you may be surprised to find that it fits into the use of Golden Mean.

Example

In this example Shannon’s head is in the first lower left section. The next section moving up and to the right contains her left breast and is completed by the junction of her thigh and torso. The final section moving in the same direction is filled with Shannon’s thigh, which travels the length of the final section ending at her knee.

Diagonal Method in Fine Art Nude Photography

Diagonal Composition

What is diagonal composition?

It is a color photograph bringing out the details of an interior. A good example is where the majority of Wall’s images are displayed in a light box. Diagonal composition represents a well-balanced for dynamically intersecting parallel and diagonal lines. This is a results of viewing and framing an object from a particular angle.

History of diagonal composition

It is important to note that diagonal composition is not a contrived theory but is a discovery. Diagonal method (DM) was accidentally discovered in May 2006 by Edwin Westhoff who was a Dutch photographer and teacher. This beautiful accident occurred when he was doing research on the composition known as ‘rule of thirds’. Therefore, the diagonal composition is not derived from the Golden section of Rule of thirds.

This method of composition is very simple in application; when using it, you can bisect each 90 degree corner of the frame thereby giving you two 45 degree angles. The dividing line is called a bisection line. Most artists will often place the important details in their frames on these lines of with a deviation of 1-1.5 millimeters. This method is called diagonal composition since the lines are mathematical and they overlap the squares in the rectangles. By following the bisection lines, viewers will tend to look at the pictures just as the artist did when capturing it.

It is possible to crop the photos later in such a way that the important details are placed near to the diagonal lines. This can be easily achieved by using the crop tool called ‘Diagonal’ in Adobe Light-room or Adobe Photoshop CS6. Most people say that by using the Diagonal Composition their photography work has become a lot better. This doesn’t apply only to the composition but also to how easy the viewer immediately grasps the important parts of the picture.

Basic Steps of Applying the Diagonal Rule

In diagonal method, one side of the frame or picture is divided into two and then each half is divided into three parts. Later, the adjacent side is divided in such a way that the lines connecting the generated points will form a diagonal frame. From the rule, the important elements of the object should lie along these diagonal lines. Linear elements like roads, waterways, fences which are placed diagonally will always appear more dynamic than those which are placed horizontally.

There are 3 types of lines in the Diagonal method:

·      The horizontal line

·      The vertical line

·      The diagonal line

The above lines have their degrees of intensity. Let us address each of them:

1.    The Horizontal Line

This is the least dynamic line of the three and has the least intensity. This is simply because it is stable and secure. Naturally, the horizontal line is flat. For example, anything in nature which is in a horizontal position, like a tree trunk lying flat on the ground, is usually unshakable or solid. It won’t go anywhere.

2.    The Vertical Line

Unlike the horizontal line, the vertical line is less secure hence more dynamic. Picture a tree which is just about to topple over. This line goes up straight and down – this makes it less balanced.

3.    The Diagonal Line

Of the three lines, this is the most dynamic. Anything in nature which is in a diagonal position is usually about to topple over.

This leads us to the next topic:

Technical Explanation of Diagonal Method

Take the 35 mm photographic frame which is usually a rectangle with a 2:3 ratio. It is possible to draw two squares which overlap each other from the rectangle. After drawing the squares, you should make your diagonal line from one corner to the next.

The next step will be drawing the reciprocal line through the diagonal line. This line should be perpendicular to the diagonal line – this means it will cut the diagonal at 90 degrees angle. (You now get to know why geometry classes are taught at schools). You will notice that there are four 90 degree angles which will of course add up to 360 degrees. This implies that the important element will be around a circular region at the point of intersection.

There are three types of diagonal lines

In photography there are three different types of diagonal lines:

·      Objects which are placed diagonally

·      Actual diagonal lines

·      Diagonal lines which are created by the view point.

The last type from the list is the one which you will be most conversant with in the field of photography. For instance, instead of shooting the photo of a street in Vegas straight from the face-on point of view, you can shoot it from the side.

What makes the diagonal lines very important to photographers?

A majority of photographers use the diagonal lines so as to guide the eye of the viewer to a certain point in the frame. If you take a diagonal line and point it in the direction with a particular object, the tension which will be created draws the eye to it.

In addition, the diagonal lines created from viewpoint have a diminishing effect on a photo as they create a sense of depth in it.

Photographers will also use diagonal lines in artificial objects like constructions so as to add contrast and dynamic tension.

Diagonal lines will also add the unstable nature in some photos. For instance, when taking shots of buildings, you can always use diagonal lines to bring out the un-stability as most buildings will tend to appear stable in nature.

General Tips for Beginners

·      Always hold your camera at the main object’s level. Take some time before you start taking photos from above or below objects.

·      The main source of light should always be behind you and not between you and the object.

·      When taking a picture of a light object use a dark background and vice versa. This will reduce the flare effect on the picture.

·      Don’t be afraid of breaking photography rules.

·      In moving objects, always capture them in such a way that a lot of space is in front of them rather than behind them.

Exercise

As you go through this day, be it at work or at home, look for examples of the diagonal method in everyday life. Be able to identify its presents in your worldview and as you do you will begin to train your eye to compose more compelling photos. Get in the habit of seeing things as if you were looking in the viewfinder of your camera. If you can do this at lease one day a week for an hour of so you skills will improve and you will become a better artist.

Example

This is a powerful example of the diagonal method. In this photo of models Zinn Star and Ellen Marisa there are many lines and angles for you eye to explore however the most dominant lines fall within the diagonal method. The first and most striking line is that of model Ellen Marisa’s body. This line starts at her shoulder, which features her hand over Zinn Star’s hand. This line runs down her body through her nipple and continues to the bottom right corner of the frame. The second most prominent line is the line that travels along Zinn Star’s sight line. The line starts at Ellen’s extended leg and runs through Zinn’s ear and continues to the top left corner of the frame. 

The Art of Nude episode 2 by JW Purdy

This is the second episode of The Art of Nude. In this episode we will be looking at one of my recent photos of Shannon Purdy from our new My Nude Year project. This is the photo from day 7 and has become very popular during this project. Your comments and questions are greatly appreciated. 

Rule of Thirds in Fine Art Nude photography

Rule of thirds

When it comes to photography, the rule of thirds is applied in such a manner that you will be aligning the subject with the help of guidelines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line or allowing linear features in the image to flow from one section to the other. The rule of thirds is the most popular principle in photography composition. In most photography classes, this is probably the first principle which digital photographers will learn as it forms the base for capturing well-balanced and interesting shots.

What does rule of thirds state?

The rule of thirds states that – An image is most appealing to the eyes when its subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds (should be both vertically and horizontally).

It is interesting that the rule appears to be mathematical and can still be applied in photographs. Surprisingly, this rule works incredibly well. The rule of thirds makes the shots appear more engaging as it brings out the aesthetic features of the subject by:

·      Creating a sense of balance

·      Doesn’t make the image appear too static

·      Adding a sense of complexity

·      Hinders the image from appearing too busy.

 

Let us review a little history on rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds has been around for a long time and it can be traced back to the 1800’s. During this era, painting was the most popular form of art. The rule of thirds was known as golden mean especially when the Greeks were exploring the world and building extraordinary temples to please their gods.

Components of the Rule of Thirds

Without some certain elements, you will be applying another rule rather than the ‘rule of thirds’. The most important components of rule of thirds include:

  • 9 Equal Boxes
  • 4 Intersecting Points
  • 2 Horizontal Lines
  • 2 Vertical Lines

 

Rule of Thirds and Your Subject

In the rule of thirds, you should always place the important components of your subject or image at intersecting points. Your main objects may be people, buildings, animals and more. By doing so, your image will be well balanced and your viewers will easily move through your image. The rule of thirds is based off a subconscious movement throughout the image or artwork in such a way that the viewer’s eye pauses longer at one of the four intersecting corners rather than at other areas. For instance, the Modern dSLR cameras often show the grid view on the back display of ‘live mode’ camera. In addition, you can activate a similar grid using Adobe Light-room and Adobe Photoshop.

The theory behind rule of thirds is that by placing the points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced and the viewer of the image will engage with it naturally. From previous studies, it was proved that most viewer’s eyes will go to one of the intersection points rather than at the center of the shot. Therefore, when using the rule of thirds, you should always think about the important elements of the picture and try to position them near the lines or intersections. They don’t have to be perfectly aligned but should be close.

Examples of rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds is very flexible and it can be used on almost any object. Here are some good examples of where it can be used and how to apply it:

1.     In landscape photos: In most cases photographers will position the horizon along the center of the frame. This will give the photo a ‘split into two’ feel. Instead you should place it along the horizontal lines. If there are interesting objects in the photo, you should try to place them along the intersecting lines or as close as possible since they will act as anchors from a natural point of view.

2.     When capturing shots of people: It is always smart to place people off to one side of the frame as this shows the subject’s environment and ‘breathing space’. Without any doubt, we are usually drawn to people’s eyes hence they should be placed at the intersection lines of the rule of thirds. This will give the shot a vivid focal point.

3.     Vertical objects: Let us say you want to take a shot on a lighthouse. The best way to go about this is by positioning the object at off-center of your frame.

4.     Moving objects: In moving objects such as a rider on a horse or a biker, it is important to place them as normal as they appear while at the same time paying attention to the direction they are moving. You should always leave more space in front of them rather than behind.

How can we improve our photos?

The best and most efficient way for a beginner to improve the quality of the shots taken is by cropping. By using cropping software, we will be able to reposition the important objects in your photo. Software such as Photoshop and Light-room can come in handy as they have crop guide overlays which include the rule of thirds option. As you get better your need to crop photos in postproduction will decrease. Strive to get as much right in your viewfinder before you push the shutter release on your camera and your ability to see the world in terms of composition will greatly improve as well as the quality of your photos.

Limitations

In very rare cases we will find an image in which we cannot apply rule of thirds. In such cases, we might give the photo a sense of balance without making the subject appear too static.

Breaking the Rule of Thirds

Rules are made to be broken. That’s what they say from where I come from. Just like other rules in photography, the rule of thirds will not apply in all situations. Therefore, by breaking it on some shots might results in a more eye-catching and interesting photo. But you should fully understand the rule of thirds before breaking it. This way you will be certain of what you are doing while trying to get a better composition. Try breaking the rules on some of the photos you have captured using the rule of thirds and compare the two.

Exercise

Plan a day of shooting when you have a little free time, if you have only a little time available just work around you house. Find a subject that you have shot or want to shoot. Now as you start to work keep in mind the Rule of Thirds. If you are working with landscape try placing the horizon on the bottom third, top third and then just in the center of the frame. If you have a specific subject you are working with try moving the camera so that the subject falls on each line as well as intersecting lines of the Rule of Thirds. When you get back to your computer download the images and really take a close look at each one until you narrow the field of photos to one. Finally, ask yourself what makes this the best photo. Now you are not only using the Rule of Thirds but also learning how to apply it in a practical real world situation.

Example

In the photo below you will notice that model Zeva has been placed on the left third of the frame. I also placed the rough building skyline on the top third of the frame creating a stronger composition. With regard to the bottom third being located near Zeva’s bottom and the top of the brick she was sitting on was just luck. As you get better at working with the Rule of Thirds you will find that utilizing two of the dividing lines strengthens you composition like in this example. I did break one Rule of Composition in this photo as Zeva is facing away from the negative space in the photo. I find this personally appealing and think it adds some tension to the otherwise beautiful scene. Some people would completely disagree and tell you that by breaking this rule I ruined an otherwise good photo. As stated above, break the rules while following them to suit your own taste. I would however recommend learning the rules before you start to try and break them.

Please come back next week for another video review and discussion.

JW Purdy