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Monday, September 14, 2009

Breaking the Rules, conintued

Watching the Game
© 2009 Simon Hucko

Today we're going to talk about breaking another "rule" of composition. Generally, the best photographs are the ones in which the subject fills the frame. Sometimes, however, you can make a stronger impact by isolating your subject in part of the frame. In the picture above, taken at a modified football game, the subject (the two boys) only fills about 1/4 of the frame. Even still, I think there's something very moving about this image.

Here's the same image with a much tighter crop. While this is a more rule-friendly framing, I think that the photo loses a lot of its impact.

Which do you like better? Why? (Or do you dislike them both?)


Format change: You've probably noticed I haven't been publishing nearly as often as I used to. For several reasons, I am backing off to one post a week. This is partially because I don't have as much time anymore to write posts, but it's also to give people an opportunity to read and comment on my blog posts, and hopefully to improve the quality of each post. I may still post links and other things during the week, but the meat of this blog will now be published on Monday mornings.


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. I actually like the original better than the close-crop, but I think part of that is because there is some contrast loss.

    Also, I do agree with the point of your post (sometimes it's okay to fill the frame)!

  2. @Kristan - I think you should read this post again. My point was that I liked the first image better, and that I think it had a greater impact than the close crop.

    The general "rule" is to fill the frame, which is excellent advice most of the time. This was an exception to that.

  3. You might have broken one rule loosely, but you followed another... the rule of thirds.... which is why I think the first image is more impactful.

    Also, these rules are just a guiding points. The best judgment is your eye and moving around to figure out what works best. PLUS it's fun to break the rules!!! :)

  4. @Christa - ...these rules are just guiding points.

    Agreed, which is why I usually put quotes around the word "rule" when I talk about it. Once you know the "rules" you can break them for the effect you want. If you don't know the "rule" and why you broke it, though, you just got lucky (which I do a lot). ;)