Photo's " Too Centered "?

BmDubb

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Just need a little help understanding how/why/what makes a photo " too centered ". Just doesn't make much sense to me. Can anyone explain this or know a link to some good reading? Ive been searching for 2 hours and can't find anything lol

Thanks guys
 

Rekd

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Search for "rule of thirds", that will kind of explain how shots tend to look better when you put the focal subject off-center.
 

Felix0890

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When the subject is in the center, it just looks boring and takes away from the picture. There are always exceptions to every rule. Some shots look better with a centered subject. It's up to you as the artist to judge when the subject looks good centered or not.

Rule of Thirds
 

ANDS!

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Just need a little help understanding how/why/what makes a photo " too centered ". Just doesn't make much sense to me. Can anyone explain this or know a link to some good reading? Ive been searching for 2 hours and can't find anything lol

Thanks guys

Stop searching. Do not listen to ANYONE who attempts to qualify with facts, what is a matter of aesthetics and personal opinion. Yes, having a with a subject "dead on" might be distracting (especially if you do it in ALL of your photographs), but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad photograph, and in fact it may be intentional.

Just take the photograph you want, and after awhile you will begin to be able to personally note what works and does not work to you.
 

tirediron

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Stop searching. Do not listen to ANYONE who attempts to qualify with facts, what is a matter of aesthetics and personal opinion. Yes, having a with a subject "dead on" might be distracting (especially if you do it in ALL of your photographs), but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad photograph, and in fact it may be intentional.

Just take the photograph you want, and after awhile you will begin to be able to personally note what works and does not work to you.

I think you might be a little over the top there ANDS!; I agree completely that composition is a matter of aesthetics and personal preference, and if you want an image centered than shoot it that way, BUT all photographers should have an awareness of the guidelines of what is generally agreed to be "good composition", the most basic of which is of course, the "Rule of thirds". As well, read up on the "The golden mean". These are by no means rules, but are guides to what the most people consider aesthetically pleasing.

You can't know whether you want to center an image or not without having an understanding of the pros can cons.
 

ANDS!

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I agree - in theory. But I think the more organic approach to learning about composition and what works and does not work is better than a dependence on a set of supposed photographic axioms. I think I've read one book in the entirety of my "photographic career" that was focused on anything that would be considered Basic Photography 101 - and that was actually a book on aperture, shutter-speed, etc.

Long story short, I think its better for burgeoning shutterbugs to first get into their own groove and see what works for them, what style they are comfortable with, before they get duck-walked into they way they should be shooting. This way they'll have a better understanding on what advice they can take, and what advice they can cast aside as it not fitting into their style.
 

Zachery

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I agree with you, Tirediron, you can't break the rules until you've learned them!
 

icassell

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One of the advantages of being human is that we are able to learn from those who came before us and not have to re-invent the wheel. I agree with those who recommend that you read about the basic rules of composition (my favorite book is Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Eye). I also recommend looking at gobs of images by other photographers. Feel free to break the rules but, in that case, don't be surprised if your images are not pleasing to others. There is a lot of human psychology behind the development of those "rules". As ANDS! suggested, there is a lot of personal opinion involved, but it is still important to understand the basics.
 

Felix0890

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Tirediron makes a great point. John Steinbeck once said something along the lines of "One may break rules but must do so knowingly and lovingly." He said this in regards to writing composition but it fits perfectly into any art form as well. I break rules in my music all the time but I know that there's a fine line between breaking them to portray my own style and breaking them by being ignorant. Happy shooting!
 

KmH

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One of the advantages of being human is that we are able to learn from those who came before us and not have to re-invent the wheel. I agree with those who recommend that you read about the basic rules of composition (my favorite book is Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Eye). I also recommend looking at gobs of images by other photographers. Feel free to break the rules but, in that case, don't be surprised if your images are not pleasing to others. There is a lot of human psychology behind the development of those "rules". As ANDS! suggested, there is a lot of personal opinion involved, but it is still important to understand the basics.
Along these lines.....

Composition has been discussed and examined for a couple of thousand years now. Not just in photography but in all the visual arts. Over time, it became clear certain compositional elements/techniques are more pleasing/stronger/more compelling to the eye than others.

Centered compositions tend to be some of the weakest/least compelling.

When you watch TV or a movie, be aware of the composition the camera operators use. Little of it is centered and use of the ROT abound.

Rules is not a good name, guidelines is a better term.

Diagonals, leading lines, verticals, horizontals, all have their part in making a pleasing composition.

If you want to portray dignity and strength, your image will be stronger if it has a strong vertical lines.

If you wish to convey speed, compose using diagonals.

If you want tranquility and peacefullness use horizontals.

You might want an image to convey several feelings like speed and strength together, so you may want to mix some of several compositional guides in a single image.
 

DennyCrane

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The rule of thirds is VERY important for beginners to learn... There are specific times to use it... say, a subject on a beach. And there's times not to use it... like a forest path.
Take a look at this picture:
IMG_1277a.jpg

The path is pretty much centered and leads the viewer up the path to the pine tree. But also... look again. the end of the path is on the lower 3rd plane and the top of the trees behind the pine are on the upper plane. So, we've broken the rule of thirds by centering a picture that's naturally symetrical, but followed the rule with some subtler elements.
Here's another:
bee2.jpg

Mr. Bee here is in the upper left rule of thirds "power point". There are 4 power points:
rule-thirds-powerpoints-1.jpg

Take a look at a lot of the pictures from the best photographers, and you'll usually see their subjects are in 1 of the 4 power points. It just helps keeping your subject from looking boring.

But, rule... not law. Take the picture several ways and decide yourself which looks best.
 

Big

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Sometimes I find it easier to shoot the subject and then crop it to meet the rule of thirds. Of course it doesn't always work, but sometimes.
 

Rekd

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Take a look at a lot of the pictures from the best photographers, and you'll usually see their subjects are in 1 of the 4 power points. It just helps keeping your subject from looking boring.

Is that why my 7D seems to focus there instead of in the center? (I know I can set it manually, was just curious if that was the thinking behind the auto settings.)
 

DennyCrane

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Take a look at a lot of the pictures from the best photographers, and you'll usually see their subjects are in 1 of the 4 power points. It just helps keeping your subject from looking boring.

Is that why my 7D seems to focus there instead of in the center? (I know I can set it manually, was just curious if that was the thinking behind the auto settings.)
Possible. It would make sense... but honestly, I have no idea.
 

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