Aim down the mid­dle for a change

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents -


When I present pho­tog­ra­phy cour­ses, my stu­dents of­ten ask: “My sub­ject should be on the side, not in the mid­dle, right?”. “Well, it de­pends,” I al­ways an­swer.


Take a look at this beast of a leop­ard I pho­tographed in the Sabi Sand Game Re­serve. An an­i­mal that looks side­ways like this should ideally be placed closer to one side of the frame, rather than right in the mid­dle like Grant’s wild dog pup. Try to leave less space be­hind its back and more in front of it to cre­ate a sense of bal­ance and to pre­vent the an­i­mal from seem­ing “cramped” on the side that it’s look­ing to­wards. The last thing you want is to waste space be­hind it and to make it seem like it’s “look­ing out of the shot”. De­spite the pres­ence of dis­tinct lines in the photo, I ap­plied the Rule of Thirds by plac­ing the leop­ard’s head where two thirds lines cross. Grant’s wild dog, how­ever, looked straight at the cam­era. By plac­ing its head right in the mid­dle he was able to cre­ate a stun­ning im­pact shot. The catch light in the young­ster’s eyes, to­gether with the pat­terns and tex­ture of the leaves, makes it even more strik­ing.

So the gen­eral rule is: If your sub­ject looks to the side, leave slightly more space in the di­rec­tion that it’s look­ing, but when it turns to face you head on, con­sider plac­ing it in the mid­dle for max­i­mum im­pact.


In some in­stances you can place your sub­ject in the mid­dle and still ap­ply the Rule of Thirds – the two com­po­si­tional tech­niques cer­tainly aren’t mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. Take this photo of an­other male leop­ard as an ex­am­ple. Be­cause it walked straight to­wards me, I placed it dead cen­tre in the im­age, but I made sure that the lines that were formed by the twotrack were placed more or less on the two ver­ti­cal thirds lines. This way, I was able to com­bine the bal­ance and struc­ture gained from the Rule of Thirds with the im­pact of hav­ing the an­i­mal right in the mid­dle.


To draw more at­ten­tion to the wild dog’s face, I would do two things to Grant’s im­age in post pro­cess­ing (I use Adobe Light­room): I would in­crease the Shad­ows slider value slightly to see more de­tail on its face, and I would de­crease the Post-Crop­ping Vi­gnetting amount slightly to darken the bright edges of the photo.

Im­prove your wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy skills by down­load­ing Vil­liers’s wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy app, Learn by Ex­am­ple – Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­phy, in the App Store or Google Play Store. Avail­able on smart­phones and tablets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.