Photography discussion

Bishop
Bishop
Eating out.Posts: 6,894 in Photography
Been reading up on how the rule of thirds in photography and art is an amateur way to frame your work and that it's only taught at low level education.
My problem with all that is that most people I talk to about art and photography all talk about and use the rule of thirds. So if its something that we all know in our subconscious then anything that doesn't use the rule of thirds for composition will seem wrong as more use the rule than not.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Tom
    Tom
    Keeping d*d Happy Posts: 11,595
    Bishop wrote:
    Been reading up on how the rule of thirds in photography and art is an amateur way to frame your work and that it's only taught at low level education.

    Whoever said that is a clueless halfwit.

    You can compose in a number of ways, but particularly in photography, rule of thirds often works perfectly, giving a natural balance to the composition.

    I don't ever think any 'rules' when shooting, just try to get a feel for the right composition for the chosen subject and style of shot, a fair amount of the time a rule of thirds composition is a natural outcome.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Tom wrote:
    Whoever said that is a clueless halfwit.

    You can compose in a number of ways, but particularly in photography, rule of thirds often works perfectly, giving a natural balance to the composition.

    I don't ever think any 'rules' when shooting, just try to get a feel for the right composition for the chosen subject and style of shot, a fair amount of the time a rule of thirds composition is a natural outcome.

    I am new enough to this to take your word for it but I am still trying to learn.

    Why is it a natural outcome? Because that is what you have been taught to look for? I don't think they were saying the rule should never be used, it's an obvious fail safe and more often than not that's exactly what you will find.

    I am saying that because its a basic rule and one of the first taught, do you think that means that it becomes the rule that everybody looks for. And thus if you chose to use any other design canon the "public or general" view of that work is less than if the thirds had been used.
    I mean almost every camera I have used has a rule of thirds built into it so you can guarantee every budding photographer out there including myself is trying to line his horizon up to the rule.

    Or quite possibly I am over thinking it. But I find it a great subject.
  • Tom
    Tom
    Keeping d*d Happy Posts: 11,595
    You're overthinking it, or just oblivious to the obvious.

    It can be used in all sorts of ways. I don't use any grids, just compose the shot as best I can. That London shot I just posted above is a classic rule of thirds shot, three different thirds lines used.

    Would there be a better way to compose it from where I took the shot? No.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Tom wrote:

    Would there be a better way to compose it from where I took the shot? No.

    Well, you're the artist, it's not for me, or I don't have the skill to tell you otherwise. But if another photographer took it from a different angle or used a 1:1.6 or 1:1.5 canon for example can you honestly say that yours is the best possible photograph of that building? Or should I say best use of any sort of grid to frame it? Bold statement if you do. :)

    It does look good however and yeah I am probably over thinking it. Not something I know enough about to get into a debate about it so that's enough passive aggressive from me. Your opinion is noted in my quest to find out what the hell i'm talking about.
  • Tom
    Tom
    Keeping d*d Happy Posts: 11,595
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's only one way to do things, never be rigid, just make a good composition for the subject.

    What is a good composition? Balance + strength. It's fairly obvious when you hit the sweet spot, whether it's rule of thirds, central, or more extreme perspectives where you can be more creative.

    For strength of composition and balance/harmony, at a deeper level you can also look into the golden section and fibonacci sequence, these can be found in nature, art, design, architecture, pretty much anything visual.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    :cheers:
  • StisterMeve
    StisterMeve
    Fucky-do Posts: 6,551
    Re: the rule of thirds thing, isn't it just a classic case of knowing the rules before you can break them? So something to stick by religiously when you're starting out, which you can then play around with when you know what you're doing?
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Re: the rule of thirds thing, isn't it just a classic case of knowing the rules before you can break them? So something to stick by religiously when you're starting out, which you can then play around with when you know what you're doing?

    I didn't see this but yes I think you are right. Although if you use a different rule it opens the door for every man and his dog to suggest it's and amature photo because they can't see the rule of thirds being used. As that's the standard everybody uses.

    Anyways I doubt if I have the vocabulary to explain what im trying to as we are doing round abouts.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,615
    The rule of thirds predates photography and it's just a rule of thumb, broken all time with good results. It simply often works. Personally I think it's rare that a horizon or any strong line works well in the middle of the composition.

    But sometimes it does.
    Rhein_II.jpg
    that's a $4,000,000 photo.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Yes but there are more compositions than just using the thirds or in the middle. What a sad renaissance it would have been if all the masters did was line everything up to the rule of thirds. ( I understand that its a different medium ).

    I guess I was looking for somebody to have a definitive answer or give good examples of other compositions and why they can work. But that's not what the thread is for and again I can't quite explain my question.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,615
    I don't think there is a definitive answer. I believe the rule of thirds is basically "golden ratio for dummies". The golden ratio has lots of uses but doesn't have to be in every picture.

    If you want to see someone that breaks all the rules and succeeds, check out Lee Friedlander. He's a wild man and a god to many.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    I don't think there is a definitive answer. I believe the rule of thirds is basically "golden ratio for dummies". The golden ratio has lots of uses but doesn't have to be in every picture.

    That's what I am trying to say. So when you break the rule and your audience are used to it or only know the rule of thirds will look for it in your Images and judge it based on its lack of use of the rule of thirds.
    Because It's a fail safe in most cases it has become the standard composition for photographers. It looks like photography has become awash with everybody following the same formula. What ever happened to experimentation and exploration.

    There are some really nice examples in game of thrones cinematography.
    thanks for the example man.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,615
    Bishop wrote:
    I guess I was looking for somebody to have a definitive answer or give good examples of other compositions and why they can work. But that's not what the thread is for and again I can't quite explain my question.

    I created a "Photography discussion" thread. Maybe you want to move these composition posts over there to continue talking it (mod Bishop).

    I'm into talking about it. Maybe talking about it will get my photography juices flowing, which seemed to have dried up in the last year.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Moved :)

    I am not sure it will go past me asking obscure questions but good idea to keep this out of the nice photo thread.

    I guess this all spawns from looking at painting and movie compositions and then spending ages looking at 500px and the like, trying to understand how those skills and rules apply to photography.
    I love the work on 500px for example but there is not much there that I want to emulate.
    Meaning I would love to have that skill, but the amount of photoshoppery and bastardization of photos or repetition of subject means I have little idea what I am supposed to aim for out of the camera.

    I would like to think there is more to photography ( more to aim for ) than good camera settings and making sure that something is along one of the planes in the rule of thirds.
    The more I look at that great work the more I get a little tired of it. Most likely from over exposure. (see what I did there)

    I would like to think that there is more to aim for than just being as good as everybody else in the same style as everybody else.
    And don't get me wrong, I know that sounds like hippie wank but the more I think about it and the more I read, the more I despise practicing an art form and trying to replicate results.

    It seems the work I am looking at online all follows the same formula, because that's what we expect now. Nobody wants to see a close up of my cock and balls and have to figure out what I am trying to express with my medium.

    Purple skies and soft focus images with blurred water, yippie.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,615
    500px strikes me as pop culture through a lens, a snapshot of a few years.

    Consider some older stuff.

    Wynn Bullock
    7-Child-in-Forest-1951.jpg
    Merg Ross
    claunch_church.jpg
    The Bechers
    42e213f65f967b29098fa62baf0dbcd0.jpg
    Robert Frank, HCB, Weston
    Pepper_1930_large.jpg
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,224
    Agreed ^

    Magnum photos (mid century agency) are fantastic. Grab a book — there's some great ones. The likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson.
  • willtoo
    willtoo
    .O_o. Posts: 2,451
    Composition and style are two different things mate. I guess the greats (and the goods) would discover their own style after a time. The general rules will be in their shots but styles will vary. I got given a copy of Magnum Stories a few years back by my boss at the time. It's a lovely book, perhaps you're better looking at something like that rather than photos online?

    edit: haha - Limbo beat me to the punch!
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,615
    I think it's worthwhile spending time looking at photos online. It helps you understand the vast landscape and get feel of what interests you. And I'd recommend researching the books you might buy because some are quality and some aren't.
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,224
    Agreed #2

    Peruse a (good) bookshop.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Thanks, all good references and advice.
    willtoo wrote:
    Composition and style are two different things mate

    For sure, I discussed both though as thought they were relevant. This is about composition though to be clear.

    Yeah 500px is not a great starting point for me for many reasons, so for now it's all about building up relevant library of inspiration.

    I had actually done some research on Henri Cartier-Bresson, and it was his work that got me thinking along these lines for photography.
    But haven't managed to find much else until now.

    hard to find what you want when you don't know what you are looking for.
  • Tom
    Tom
    Keeping d*d Happy Posts: 11,595
    Limbo wrote:
    Agreed ^

    Magnum photos (mid century agency) are fantastic. Grab a book — there's some great ones. The likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

    This. I've got a few Magnum books, highly recommended. At a completely different level, still the finest photographic agency in the world to this day.

    The founders of Magnum (including Henri Cartier-Bresson) basically gave birth to modern photography.

    Another brilliant resource is the Genius of Photography BBC TV series, seriously good.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Lovely, thanks.
  • Limbo
    Limbo
    Established Norm Posts: 27,224
    I've got a brilliant little Magnum landscape book. Wide variety of images from scenes of war to daily street life. It was a real inspiration for my final composition studies at art school. I'll try and dig it out.
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