Advertisement
Composition

Quick Tip: Giving a Subject Looking Space

by

One of the earliest techniques that you learn as a photographer relates to the rule of thirds, and how placing a subject towards one side of an image - rather than straight in the middle - often creates a more pleasing composition. Today I'm going to discuss a related idea; giving your perfectly positioned subject somewhere to look.


Looking Left or Right

Whenever you have a subject that is looking right or left, the best place to position them is away from the side of the image that they're looking towards. If someone is looking left, position them towards the right of the image (and vice versa).

Here are a selection of images that show this technique being executed well:

Looking Space Rule of Thirds
Looking Space Rule of Thirds
Looking Space Rule of Thirds

Leading the Subject

This idea holds true whether a subject is walking, running, diving, or even dancing towards a certain area of the image. Give them space to move into, and you'll ensure that the action feels real in your photograph. The viewer can envision the action progressing, and create a picture in their mind of what will happen next.

In video and film, this technique is known as "leading the subject". It involves leaving approximately two thirds of the screen space in front of a subject, giving the feeling that the subject has room to continue to move in the composition.

Again, let's take a look at an example of this being done particularly well:

Looking Space Rule of Thirds

Breaking the Mould

There are, of course, circumstances where this isn't always the best route to take. If you get the chance, shoot a couple of images at the time so you can pick your favourite later. Here's an example of when you might want to leave more space behind the subject than in front, and the following image also breaks the mould for a great result:

Looking Space Rule of Thirds

Share Your Image!

Do you have an image that you've taken using this technique? Leave a link in the comments below so that we can take a look!

Related Posts
  • Design & Illustration
    Drawing
    Technical Drawing for Beginners: Three Point PerspectivePreview image2 3p
    Three point perspective is great when you wish to render objects or scenes from an abnormally high or low point of view. The distortions that the third vanishing point brings into your composition often has a very artistic effect and makes even the most simple concept more interesting.Read More…
  • Photography
    Lighting
    Creating a Magic Photo with a Magician and Playing CardsBen lucas magician 18 prenew
    In this tutorial, I'm going to show you to create the seemingly impossible. I jammed as much chaos as possible into a single photo to create a visual feat fit for a magician. We'll look at the decision making process, the lighting, and the retouching that went into creating a final image.Read More…
  • Photography
    Composition
    How a Single Step Can Transform a PhotographDe onestep prenew
    When I was starting out as a photographer, the best advice I was given was "ask yourself, before you click the shutter, is this the best angle?" It is a question I continually ask myself in my head to this very day, and it's something you should be asking yourself, too.Read More…
  • Design & Illustration
    Drawing
    Technical Drawing for Beginners: One Point PerspectiveRetinal preview 1 point
    One point perspective is one of the easiest perspective drawing styles available. The reason for this is that all lines lead to a single point, and regardless of how complex your object is, it's easy to realize when you've made a mistake, and just as easy to correct it.Read More…
  • Photography
    Composition
    Quick Tip: 5 Tried and True Portrait Cropping TechniquesBenlucas cropping prelg
    Cropping a portrait properly takes a lot more thought than just putting the face in the middle of the frame. In this quick tutorial, you'll learn five techniques to ensure you're getting the most compelling crops for your portraits.Read More…
  • Photography
    Shooting
    Understanding Photographic Style through Wedding ImageryWeddingpreview sb2 lg
    Over time, photographers develop their own personal style, through the way they choose to light their images, the form and composition of their work, the equipment that they use and the post-processing decisions that they make. However, for each shoot, a photographer will make a decision about the style of the images needed. Working in a certain style needs to be intentional decision to represent your subject in a specific way. This may be because you feel it will maximise the impact of the imagery, or because that is how your client has asked you to present the photographs.Read More…