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Secrets to the Art of Photography

Learn to apply principles of design and rules of photographic composition to your photos.

Wikipedia defines fine art photography as referring to “photographs that are created in accordance with the creative vision of the photographer as artist.” An artistic photograph is a one-of-a-kind creation. Whether or not you have the talent to draw or paint, you can be a photographic artist. Your images may be admired on a social networking site or may become framed artwork on your living room wall. Working with photography students, I notice that most focus on the technical aspects of photography, but some seem to have the “eye” for an artistic image.

There are a few simple rules that some of us apply subconsciously, but that the less-artistic of us can apply with consideration of the elements in our image. Of these, the most common is the photographer’s “Rule of Thirds” that states that your image should be one third of the way into your frame, one-third from the top, bottom, left, or right. Some camera viewfinders even show lines in the form of a tic-tac-toe board, helping us arrange our subject according to this rule.

There is a slightly more complex rule proportion that employs the concept of “Phi.” This number, approximately 1.618, was designated by Leonardo da Vinci as the “Golden Number.” The ratio of 1.618 to 1 was used in ancient Greek and Turkish architecture and design and is also found in nature. The human body, flowers, shells, galaxies, and plants as well as Noah’s ark have dimensions approximately in this ratio. You can use this golden number by applying this aspect ratio in your photos.

Other basic elements to watch for that make for good design include the use of lines (especially diagonal lines), shapes, patterns, texture, contrast, color, and space. Also be aware of “negative space” – that space that occupies the frame exclusive of your subject.

If you would like to learn more about the elements of design and photographic composition, join us Thursday night at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center for our digital photography class: “Composition: Elements of Design, Rules for Photography.” The cost is only $10 for the two-hour session starting at 7:00 p.m. Call 813-929-1229 or email info@con2000.com for more information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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