Jun 16, 2016

How to Position Subjects

In most cases, a photograph comes to life when it features one main point of interest. A landscape, for example, may contain a single tree, beautifully lit, that stands out from its surroundings. When you have decided on your main subject, there are a number of digital photography tricks you can use to bring it into prominence.

By 'tricks', it is not a reference to post alteration in Photoshop, or similar tools. It means choosing your viewpoint and composition thoughtfully and carefully, which when shot, will greatly enhance the power of your image. For a better photographing experience, William Schoellkopf has compiled three effective ideas:

1.   Positioning

Typically, digital photography beginners will seek out a central position in the frame in which to place their main subject. This may work well in certain circumstances, such as a conventional head and shoulders portrait. However, when used exclusively, this type of composition can become boring. Photography works well when we borrow from an old artists' trick, and place our main subject on an intersection known as the 'rule of thirds'.

2.   Lines

Lines are created in an image wherever distinct or long lines occur between colors and tones. This needs not be just one element, but can be a whole series, i.e. roads and trees, clouds or shadows, which together form one strong linear element. When these lines radiate from, or converge to, your main subject, these can create clearly dramatic lead-in effects. If your main subject is a cottage in the distance, and a distinct road lined with trees lead the viewer's eyes straight to it, this can be more pleasing than the same cottage pictured from another viewpoint that does not feature these elements.

3.   Contrast

Making your main subject the lightest or darkest element of the picture (or even the only element featuring a certain color) will make it stand out strongly. This also helps emphasize shape and set a mood.

These are just a few digital photography tricks William Schoellkopf has shared that can help your main subject stand out, and comfortably lead your viewer where you want them to go. 

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