By using simple compositional techniques, you can take what would be a good picture to being a more dynamic one.
Rule of Third’s
When composing a scene through the viewfinder, the most fitting placement for the subject, which is the center of interest, would seem to be…in the center.
Though composing your photograph this way is acceptable and esthetically pleasing, such an image can appear static, and even boring.
Instead, placing your subject off-center tends to give the feeling of motion, and even tension. This is where the compositional technique of rule of thirds comes into play.
Rule-of-thirds is a popular composition tool used by photographers and other visual artists, and is said to be based on techniques used by painters from the 19th century. Using imaginary lines, the scene is divided equally into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Important elements in a photograph are then placed along these lines, or at their intersections.
The following image is of a rose in a vase, on a piano. The rose is placed in the center of the image.
In the second image, the rose placement is off-center. By placing it in the right third of the frame, a feeling of motion is created. The flower even seems to be moving towards you, almost as though it will slide out of the picture.
In the image of the girl with a violin, her placement in the left third of the scene gives a sense of flowing and motion, which would be absent if she were composed in the center of the frame.
This “rule” is not a cure-all for all photographs, but a good guideline to follow. Before releasing the shutter, take a few extra moments to compose your image using this technique. Experiment by taking several pictures of the same scene, placing the points of interest at different segments of your imaginary grid, and then compare them to see what difference the varied placements make.