Doesn't meet the rule of thirds

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by 10999909, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. This photo has been criticised on another site because the critic said there was too much white space in the middle. She would prefer the path to be to one side (with the angle of view shifted to the left). I understand the rule of thirds, which was driving the criticism, but I'm not sure it's always necessary, particularly in a square format like this. What do people think?

    (Rolleicord III, Portra 400) img007.jpg
    johnfantastic likes this.
  2. I don't believe in hard and fast rules. Everyone makes a choice walls when composing a shot and that's it. The more choices you're aware of, the better your choices will probably be and your photos will probably have a bit more variety. So there's no real reason to blindly chase the 'rule of thirds' rule. Though I usually find the rule works well for photos of people.

    I think the comment that was given is valid as a personal preference, given as 'feedback'. I can see her point. Centered and balanced photos work well in many situations but can look a bit 'static' (or stately ;)). If that was your intention, then the photo is fine as it is. A couple of steps to the left may have led to a more spontaneous 'off-balance' photo which sometimes can be more interesting.
    dcstep likes this.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Was it? Did the critique state that?

  4. Yours is a good point - looking back at the critique, that was not explicitly stated. I have inferred that that was behind the suggestion because the person in question raises the rule of thirds in a lot of her critiques of photos (often correctly). Maybe I was being too sensitive or over-interpreting her opinion :). In any event, I didn't mind the critique because she, and Mike Morrell, may well be right that a shift in angle might have improved the shot. Just interested in peoples' views as to how important, as a rule, it is, and whether I could have improved the angle on this shot (whether by applying the rule or not).
  5. The rule of thirds is one of a number of aids to help artists achieve good composition, dating from before photography. It suggests that important features of a picture should be placed not at the centre, but at or near one of the four intersections of thirds. Your picture does not really have strong individual features, rather it's an expression of the mood of the scene you encountered, and perhaps an invitation for the viewer to speculate what it would be like to walk down the path into the mist. I think the picture works very well in this way and the central composition does not get in the way at all.
  6. The rule of thirds isn't the issue as I see it. The path, in the center, which is fine, drawers the eye into the picture. But then there's nothing there. No subject. Just some fog. So then my eyes bounced back to look left and right at some trees that look the same. Again no subject. It's like not finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
  7. Thanks - that's what I was trying to convey.
  8. I think that is a fair criticism - I have been feeling there's something missing from the shot too. If there had been a convenient dog or walker it would have been better - unfortunately, nobody was so obliging :). As noted by John Seaman, the shot is meant to be more about the mood than any particular subject, but I can certainly see that having something extra would improve it. I've attached another shot from the same morning, where I think the fallen gate provides the missing subject.

    Thanks for your helpful comments.
    michaellinder and G&R like this.
  9. Tell them that your plan is to add a human element maybe a lady in red in the trail to be cropped later and I'm sure they will nod in agreement. :)
    10999909 likes this.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Similar to my critique for improvement: not necessarily base on thirds, rather based on creating a better PLACEMENT of the illusion of the perspective's vanishing point resulting in a more active, prolonged and stimulating movement of the Viewer's Eye.

  11. Agreed! Except I'd have probably cropped up a little from the bottom.
  12. Hmmm! Maybe not!
  13. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I like the photo - but had I been taking it, I would (if possible) have moved slightly to the right, so that the path led the eye (as @AlanKlein mentioned) more into the misty area in the distance. To me, this indicates that the path leads somewhere mysterious and unknown - and you can follow it if you will.
    10999909 likes this.
  14. This, for me, is a photo about atmosphere. I'm mostly struck by what feels to me like discoloration and some muddiness. I know that the combination of lens with mist, fog, and haze can cause strange color effects, and in this photo, I'm very conscious of them. I get a purplish, sickly feel from much of the foreground grasses and a bit more of a brownish/dirty than hazy feel from the farthest tree branches. The sharpness of the low foreground grasses also pulls at my eye. I wonder if there was more potential for photographic lyricism here than has been realized. I don't know that the composition as much as a different approach to exposure and post processing would bring out the poetry of the scene.
  15. Thanks for your comments. This was the first colour film I've ever developed at home and maybe I made some mistakes, or maybe the exposure could have been better. However, I've found that with scanned colour negs there is not a great deal of room for adjusting colour balance in post processing.
  16. I think context is a good point. The original picture would be fine if it was used in a book that was illustrated with appropriate photos or drawings. The text would read something like, : "The little boy, lost in the woods, was scared witless as he wondered the path into dangerous places unknown."
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  17. I had problems getting the colors right scanning negative film. Also, until you scan it you don't even know what other issues there are. So I went back to using chromes. You know immediately before scanning whether it was exposed right. Plus, the scanning is simpler.

    Since I shoot landscapes mainly, I like Velvia with its higher saturation. I've got a lot of examples on my FLickr site. Provia is a good not so vivid chrome which I've started to shoot. If shooting people or looking for a more natural palette, Portra is a good selection. Although it's a negative film, it scans very well losing that orange mask easily. With medium format, I usually bracket, not with 4x5.
  18. Thanks. This is medium format - not sure I can afford bracketing with the cost of film, but maybe it pays off in the end!
  19. Hmmm! #2 = definite improvement over #1. Different angle, position, and view. Guessing if that tree a little off center to the right were a little more off center to the right might've made for a better composition but think not much could've been done about that without messing up the position of the fallen gate. Atmosphere is still there, maybe even upped a little.
  20. I prefer the first picture, I think it works well in the way I suggested earlier. The second picture, yes there's more of a centre of interest but I don't think the mud and fallen gate add anything, they are really too conspicuous and grab too much attention to something which is not particularly attractive or mysterious. Although it would work as one of a series showing different scenes in the woodland.

    I hadn't commented on the colours as the question related to the composition, however I found that I could easily remove the reddish cast by just reducing the red channel to 85% in Levels.

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