Vanishing points

Perspective plays a big part in composition. Imagine that you are standing looking down a length of straight, disused railway track. The distance between the rails appears to narrow into the distance. The converging lines draw the eye into the scene.

© Jonathan Jamar 2011, EOS 50D

You see a similar result if you turn your camera up to photograph a tall building. The sides of the building appear to get close together, an effect called converging verticals. If you don’t want this to happen you need to stand well back to keep the camera level with the ground. The shift movement of a tilt and shift lens will help to correct converging verticals from a closer distance.

The S-line
Another powerful compositional aid is the S-line. Imagine a river starting in the foreground and curving away in an S-shape. Your eye will instinctively follow the line into the image. The S could be a road, a line of hills or a pattern in a close-up subject. Watch out for an S-line and use it in your compositions.

The rule-of-thirds
Imagine your picture divided into nine rectangles by two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, equally spaced. If you place your main subject on any one of the four intersections, the image will usually have a well-balanced appearance.

EOS cameras with Live View offer the opportunity to add a Grid Display so that you can see the rule-of-thirds grid on the LCD screen.

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