How to Use Leading Lines to Create Attractive Photographs

A photo that has all the elements of the scene arranged aesthetically within the frame is a well-composed photo.

We have explained how to use Rule of Thirds Composition and Centred Composition in our earlier blogs, now let us walk you through Leading Lines!

Understanding Leading Lines in Photography

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Leading Lines in a photograph can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. These lines stretch from the foreground to the background and lead the viewer’s eye to the important elements in the photo.

How Leading Lines can Improve your Photograph’s Composition

Leading Lines Composition is wherein you use a street, railway track, road, escalator, field, bridge or a path to draw the viewer’s eye through these lines to a particular part of the frame.

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For instance, if you are taking a picture of a resort. You can use the curved path to guide the viewer from the foreground to the background of the scene where the curved path ends (near the resort room and lake).

If you are photographing a person sitting in the middle of an empty road – the road will serve as leading lines. This way, you can draw the viewers’ attention through leading lines to the person sitting in the middle of the road.

You can also create stunning images using this composition to capture desert landscapes. Here, the leading lines (from the foreground) create a visual pathway and direct the eye to the background of the desert scene.

Another example is when you are photographing a monument. You can use the leading lines in the foreground to guide the viewer’s eye towards the monument (the main subject in the scene).

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Leading Lines Composition, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Leading Lines Composition with the help of practical examples.

leading lines

So, get your creative juices flowing and click eye-catching images by using Leading Lines Composition!

What is Centred Composition and Symmetry in Photography Composition

The way in which the various elements in a scene are arranged within the frame is called Composition in Photography. A Good Composition will help you create Incredible Photos. We have explained how to use Rule of Thirds Composition in our earlier blog, now let’s proceed to Centred Composition and Symmetry.

What is Centred Composition and Symmetry

Centred Composition and Symmetry means placing your subject at the centre of the frame, such that it splits in half, either horizontally or vertically. Due to perfect symmetry, this composition creates an aesthetically pleasing balance in your image.

How to Use Centred Composition to Create Beautiful Images

Centred Composition and Symmetry is ideal for photographing Architecture, Landscapes and Roads. You can use this composition to capture Scenes that contain Reflections like Water, Glass or Mirror.

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To achieve proper Centred Composition and Symmetry, you can enable the Grid display option present in the menu of your DSLR. Then, select Live View Mode. Now, you will see grid lines over your subject in real-time on your LCD screen. With the help of these grid lines, try positioning your subject at the exact centre of the frame.

For instance, if you are photographing a landscape with reflection, you can go for Horizontal Symmetry. And if your subject is a building with beautiful architecture, go for Vertical Symmetry. This way, you will succeed in taking a picture that evokes a sense of calmness and soothes the eye of the viewer.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Centred Composition, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Centred Composition with the help of practical examples.

Centred composition

What is Rule of Thirds in Photography Composition

One of the Secrets to a Great Photograph is a Good Composition. The way in which the different elements in a scene are arranged within the frame is known as Composition. There are many rules or rather guidelines that can help you create attractive images. Let’s begin with the first one – Rule of Thirds.

What is Rule of Thirds

An off-centre composition, Rule of Thirds is dividing the frame/scene into 9 equal parts; two horizontal lines (breaking the scene into thirds horizontally) and two vertical lines (breaking the scene into thirds vertically). These four lines create four intersection points. The idea here is to place your main subject/ points of interest on the intersection points. Since the subject is not placed in the centre of the scene, it also gives the viewer a glimpse into the subject’s environment – making the photograph more appealing!

How to Use Rule of Thirds to Improve your Composition

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Most of the recent DSLR Cameras have the Grid option. Check the menu in your DSLR and if you have the Display Grid option, enable it. Now, capture your image using Live View Mode. You will be able to see the grid lines over the scene you are about to photograph in real-time on your LCD screen. These grid lines divide the frame horizontally and vertically into 9 equal parts and create four intersection points. So, go ahead and capture a strong image using Rule of Thirds Composition by placing your main subject on the intersection point.

What if – you didn’t use Rule of Thirds while taking the picture? How do you apply Rule of Thirds in Post-Processing?

Well, you can edit, crop and apply Rule of Thirds to your image in post-processing software like Lightroom. In Lightroom, you can place the Rule of Thirds Grid over your image while cropping it. And create a photograph that depicts Rule of Thirds Composition.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Rule of Thirds, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Rule of Thirds Composition with the help of practical examples.

Rule of thirds

What is Exposing to the Right in Photography

The amount of light that enters your DSLR’s image sensor is called Exposure. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO are the three sides of the Exposure Triangle. These 3 settings play a key role in creating a properly exposed image.

Light Trinity

What is Exposing to the Right (ETTR) and When to Use it

Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is used only by experienced photographers to get better quality pictures by increasing the exposure/ overexposing the image in low light situations. This DSLR setting helps in capturing more (shadow) details in your image and reduces the noise (tiny coloured pixels or grain) in your image without losing any of the highlights.

It is called Exposing to the Right since it refers to the histogram of the image which should be towards the right side of the graph. You might be wondering what a histogram is and how to read it? Here’s how.

How to read a Histogram

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Many a times, your DSLR LCD may not reflect the correct exposure of your image. Instead, it is always better to check the histogram of the image. In most DSLR cameras, to see the histogram – you will have to go to the image, then press the DISP/ Display button.

A histogram is basically a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your photograph. Refer the above picture – the first histogram is towards the left which means your image is underexposed. The second histogram is towards the right (Exposing to the Right) which means your image is overexposed.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand ETTR, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of ETTR.

ETTR 1

How to Use Exposing to the Right (ETTR)

Remember, you will have to set the file format to capture/save images in RAW and not JPEG, if you want to use ETTR. When you save your images in RAW format, the images are saved as RAW meaning they are not processed by the DSLR. Hence, it is not recommended for beginners as these images have to be processed later in software like Lightroom. Since, a RAW image captures all image data recorded by the image sensor without processing it, the file size is heavy compared to JPEG.

You will have to overexpose the image so that the histogram shifts to the right. How do you do that? Experiment with the 3 settings/elements that form the Exposure Triangle: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. For instance, you can set the aperture to a small f-number 4 (wide aperture), slow shutter speed of 1/13 sec (use a tripod to prevent camera blur) and high ISO of 12800.

Once you have captured the image using ETTR, the image will look very bright but it contains a lot of details. You will now have to process the image in Lightroom to get it to proper exposure. The resulting image will be a high quality one, containing more details and less noise in the shadow areas without losing any highlights.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein Jo experiments with ETTR Settings and succeeds in mastering ETTR.

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What is Exposure Compensation in Photography

The amount of light that enters your DSLR’s image sensor is called Exposure. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO (Holy Trinity of Photography) form the Exposure Triangle; they work together to create a properly exposed image. You can play/experiment with these 3 settings to change the exposure of your photograph.

What is Exposure Compensation (EC) and When to Use it

The DSLR’s meter calculates the light reflected off the object/subject and adjusts it to maintain the standardised middle gray aka 18% gray.

For instance, if the subject to be photographed is very bright, the light meter will darken the exposure to maintain 18% gray; if the subject is very dark, the light meter will brighten up the exposure. This adjustment is done by the meter so that the image created doesn’t turn out to be too dark or too bright.

But, you as a photographer, would want your image to come out, the way you remember seeing it while capturing it, right? To do so, you will have to use Exposure Compensation (EC) to rectify/override the meter’s gray setting.

How to use Exposure Compensation/ Understanding Exposure Compensation Settings

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Remember – Exposure Compensation doesn’t work in Manual Mode. You can use Exposure Compensation (EC) setting in aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode or program mode; since these are semi-automatic modes and allow exposure adjustments.

When you are Photographing a Polar Bear in Snow

Since, both the polar bear and the snow are white/ very bright – the DSLR meter will adjust and bring the brightness down to 18% gray. So, the polar bear may appear grey in the photograph.

To rectify the image, you will have to dial up Exposure Compensation (EC). According to the polar bear’s image, take a call as to how much you want to dial up EC. Set EC to +3, +4 or +5 and again take a snap of the polar bear. Experiment with EC settings and capture images of the polar bear until you create an image where the polar bear looks white and not grey.

Street Photography at Night

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If you are capturing Street Photography at Night, the scene would look very dark. So, your DSLR’s light meter will brighten up the exposure to maintain 18% gray. And result in a washed-out image. So, you will have to dial down EC to -3, -4 or -5 to make the photograph resemble the natural night scene.

 Moon Photography

After clicking a picture of the moon, it may happen that the moon looks like a white disc in the photograph. So, the trick here is to dial down EC (darken the exposure) to -2 or -3 so that the resulting image looks natural and depicts the craters on the moon’s surface.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Exposure Compensation, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Exposure Compensation with the help of practical examples.

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