Compositional rules apply to all the arts, and they are critical to producing interesting photographic images. Many rules exist, but a handful are simple and powerful.
In this article, I discuss the rules I implement to produce my favorite images of nature.
Sparring American Bison at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. This image utilizes several major compositional techniques. Rule of thirds: the action (the butting of heads) lies along a vertical and horizontal line about one-third the way from the bottom and right of the frame. Filling the frame: no wasted space. Negative space/background: triangular regions around the animals “point” the way to the action. This was actually a dangerous shot to get. Shortly after this photo was taken, the rest of the herd started pouring into the valley, literally chasing us out. Bison are the most dangerous animals in Yellowstone NP: they injure about three times as many humans as bears do.
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