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    • I got fascinated a few years ago by the making of a portrait of Einstein by Philippe Halsman which TIME used for their Man of the Century cover. If I recall, Philippe said he likes the subject dead center. That resonated with me. Some other portraits, such as the iconic one of Steve Jobs, were also centered. But I always hear about the rule of thirds or golden ratio.

      But now this:

      So....what say you?

    • Thanks! I probably wasn't too clear with anyone about my question: do you prefer photos composed with rule of thirds or centered?

    • I think the rules are great places to get a good baseline direction, but then you really have to shred it all and find your own feeling. Don't let "the rules" define your art. If you don't even enjoy what you are doing then what's the point?

      Most people don't want anything more out of photography than to create images that they really like. The problem often becomes that they start really caring what everybody else thinks about what they are doing and lose sight of liking it for their own reasons.

      If you are doing it, or want to do it for professional reasons then, yes, you need to care about the rules. But, if your goal is to be an artist with a camera as a brush and the world as your canvas, then learn the rules and then forget them and find your own path.

      It's the only way you'll ever be happy and the only way you might ever make a mark on the world at large.

      Saleh!

    • OH! BTW - in answer to your question -

      Centered for portraits and rule of thirds for everything else.

      That's what makes me happy. :)

    • I'm still with the Ansel Adams quote I posted earlier:
      "There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."

      And some others:
      "A good photograph is knowing where to stand."

      "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept."

      Personally I trust my eye and take a dozen different angles of every important shot - just in case. Then I pick the one I like best.

      Rules be damned.

    • i usually work with if the subject is looking straight on and is symmetrical then centre of the subject is looking left or right or even the face is pointing left or right and the eyes looking straight ahead then rule of thirds, giving the subject room to look or grow for that matter this even works for Mushroom shots 🍄😉.

    • Not sure it’s in any ‘Rules’ as such but works for my with birds and mushrooms and the occasional people shot that I do, but certainly fits with all the shots in the examples given. Sometimes the subject just needs to be given room to move into, look into etc, if square on then the room is in front of the image. Well that’s my take on things. Been working ok for what I do. The important thing is to be happy with your own work, don’t get to hung up on others opinions and have fun. That the key bit have fun.

    • Thirds, halves... I think the more important aspect is one of balance. Some images are better balanced using the rule of thirds or golden ration. Others are better balanced using halves.

    • I'm in agreement with most above.
      Start with rules, but as you gain confidence, go with what suits you and what you want to achieve.
      And no, the image isn't here to teach anything, just felt like throwing it in. 😅

    • The rule of thirds pertains to the purpose of the photographer. When a photographer desires to compose a shot so that the eye of the viewer is drawn to a specific spot in the photograph, the rule of thirds is one of the tools of composition.

      Regrettably, like the anecdote of chopping off the end of the roast, when the person who is using the rule of thirds does not grasp the purpose behind the rule, it leads to poor composition or amateurish critiquing.

      In both the Einstein and the Jobs portrait, there is no need to draw the eye to a specific location because the whole photograph grabs the eye.

      In the haunting photograph from the NG cover, the color of the eyes is in great contrast to the reds which surround it and therefore the eye is drawn to the eyes. (Incidentally, in the L.A.B. colorspace, Red and Green are at opposite ends of the alpha channel.)

      I hope that this helps answer the question behind the question.

    • Go take a look at a SmugMug sucessfull shooter, Chris Burkard, in almost every iconic shot he takes the subject is centered...would they work with the rule of thirds...yes!

      Photography is an art, I'm glad there are no rules for everyone, to me each and every shot dictates its own framing.

    • I have read the academic arguments around the rule of thirds and don't find them them very convincing - they are simply not evidence based. To make things a little worse, i shoot waterfalls, so a lot of generic advice about the rule of thirds doesn't help in the field.

      Instead, i rely on the classic formulation of beauty: Integrity and perfection are first. Proportion and Harmony follow. And to complete the mix, Brightness and, above all, Clarity. 

      When i shoot or post process, these days i ignore framing expressions and focus on integrity, harmony and clarity :) Again, no evidence base, but it spins me away from simply framing to creating.

    • What the photographer follows and what the editor/art director of the magazine follows are a different set of rules. You are talking about the "natural Z" or flow of a front cover. Note the two portraits you have shown and how their right shoulders, (left side) are lower than the right side. With the magazine logo at the top, I'm sure there would have been some more type, but the point is to have your eye move in a natural z-pattern across the cover. A strong bold and simple "Z" Logo-Image-secondary text = purchase! Ah, magazines use to be so fun! Both are great photos and perfect images for front covers. What would be interesting is to see the other images from both of those shoots that did not make it onto the cover.

    You've been invited!