Phil Hall compiled a list of rules regarding photography and what makes a good, striking image. I have never considered myself to be a photographer in any way, shape, or form, unlike every other girl my age who was given a camera for Christmas. I do, however, have a dog. A very cute dog, in my humble, unbiased opinion. I take pictures of him constantly, roughly 10 images a day, depending on how adorable he is at the time. I have even gone so far as to make him his own instagram.
One would think that my near constant snapping of images would lead to rather charming portfolio of stunning pictures, but alas, my camera roll is filled to the brim with simple stills of a sleeping pup or point-and-shoots of an animal looking directly into the lens. No pizzazz, no flair, no intrigue. Needless to say, Hall’s list caught my eye, as all good images should, and taught me a handful of guidelines that will hopefully gain my pup a few more followers.
This particular image, bound to Rule 4, strives to explain the importance of not placing the focal point of the image in the center. The photographer should allow the framing and background to do the majority of the heavy lifting and depend on the natural flow of the image to draw the eye to the intended subject. Allow the subject to move away from the center and become balanced with its surroundings rather than forcing it to dead center.
I understand that this a rather intuitive strategy to a photographer, but to absolute layman, like myself, this was truly enlightening. The photo is composed in such away that the subject is not inherently obvious, but rather the viewer follows the natural lines of the fountain and it gently guided to it. The photo trusts the viewer’s natural wits to locate the focal point instead of simply placing the subject center stage.
Looking back through my embarrassingly vast stockpile of pictures of Frank Sinatra, my dog, it became painfully obvious that there were two things that all of the images had in common: the subject was adorable and was placed dead center. Gazing upon a screen full of what was essentially the same image over and over again does not engender a sense of pride or intrigue. It is truthfully boring. Hall’s tips and tricks will allow me to step up my photography game, add a few followers to Frank’s instagram, and give me an excuse to keep taking pictures of my dog. They will no longer be static, bland portraits. They will have movement, allure, and balance.