2014 Challenge, Week 14: COMPOSITION: RULE OF THIRDS

This week, lets focus on a technique used when composing photographs: The Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds is a composition technique that can be used when laying out a scene in any visual medium – including design, film, painting, and photography. It is one of the most basic techniques, but it is also very powerful. Imagine this grid superimposed on your viewfinder:

ruleofthirdsgrid

If your subject is on one of the red dots, or aligned with one of the black lines, the composition will likely appear more balanced and pleasing to the human eye. Notice how this center of this flower falls on one of the grid intersections, and is aligned with one of the grid lines:

“Rule of Thirds” by Marie Coleman

This composition feels right. The subject is immediately visible, and in addition one of the smaller flowers is on a grid intersection. Even the wires are lined up with the grid. This image keeps the viewer looking.

This guideline can also apply to urban settings just as effectively:

“Week 3: Rule of Thirds” by Melinda Seckington

Many cameras will allow you to overlay a grid on your viewfinder or on the screen to help when composing a scene. Look through the menus on your camera and see if you can find the option. This will help you visualize the division of thirds.

Using this guideline does not mean that everything in your frame must be along perfect horizontal and vertical lines. Notice how this image uses the rule of thirds effectively while also allowing the frame to be divided diagonally by the cable:

“Barn swallow resting from the hunt” by Vicki

This bold image keeps the lines straight, but the contrasting yellow line is placed on one of the grid lines. The resulting image feels more balanced than it would if the yellow line were centered in the frame.

“yellow line on blue wall” by Rui Malheiro

 

The rule of thirds can also be applied when composing a landscape. Notice how each component of this image – the mountain in the background, the trees, and the grass in the foreground –  occupies roughly one third of the frame.

“Rule Of Thirds” by Zach Dischner

Of course, this rule is really a guideline, and there are plenty of reasons to ignore it — we will get to those in a future challenge. But this week, as you look at a scene, try to apply the rule of thirds. Try the same scene with the subject centered, and then apply the rule of thirds and see what a difference it makes.

As always, please post/share a photo you take THIS WEEK. We love your old photos, but not for the challenge. The point of the PhotoChallenges is for you to set out to create a new photo, to share with us all this week. Share them with us all at our Google+ CommunityFacebook Group, and/or our Flickr Group.

2013 Challenge, Week 26: Money

“Easy Money” by Doug88888

The theme to mark the halfway point of the 2013 Challenge is Money. This theme has many possibilities. It could be a great excuse to get out that macro lens and experiment with capturing the details on a piece of money. Or you could shoot something that represents money — perhaps the financial district of your city, a bank, or a luxury item that is only available to those with abundant sums of money.

“Donations” by Jeremy Brooks

However you choose to shoot the theme this week, just share your single best image with the group. And most importantly, get out there and have fun doing it!

“Money Bought Happiness” by K-FREE

Don’t forget to tag and upload to all the right spots. Tagging is generally “2013PhotoChallenge”. And uploading happens to our Google+, Facebook, and Flickr group/community/pages.

2013 Challenge, Week 21: Architecture

“Hypnosis” by Thomas Hawk

“Architecture: Buildings and other large structures; the art and science of designing and erecting buildings.”

This weeks theme gives you an opportunity to explore the buildings and structures around you. Do you live in an area with some famous buildings? Why not take your camera out and try to capture the things that make the building famous. Do you live in a large city? Perhaps you can capture the soaring buildings that define the skyline of your city.

“bridging knowledge to health” by paul bica

Sometimes the most interesting details of the architecture are found inside the building. Staircases, walkways, and interior structures can make very interesting subjects. If you live in a smaller town or a rural area, there are always interesting and unique structures to be found. Grain elevators, barns, and sculptures are all excellent subjects.

“rural architecture” by Adam Foster

“long arm” by h-e-d

Remember to make a new photograph for the challenge. If you get behind, don’t feel obligated to post several images in a row to catch up. Of course if you head out and capture several themes, and want to share them do so. But please only post this week’s theme to the Facebook group, Google+ community, and Flickr group.

Now go find some architecture, and have fun doing it!

“geisel library” Jonathan Cohen

2013 Challenge, Week 7: Transportation

We spend a lot of time and energy getting from place to place – we go to work, school, church, vacation, shopping, etc. Humans go places. We go by car, boat, bus, bike, skateboard, on foot, and any other way we can. This week’s challenge is Transportation – how we get from Point A to Point B.

As you make your daily journeys, grab your camera and capture anything related to transportation. Trains always make good subjects with tracks that provide strong leading lines.

Churchill Train Station

“Churchhill Station” by Alex Berger

In many parts of the world, bikes are the main mode of transportation.

The road to Sakarra, Dec 2008 - 31

“The road to Sakarra” by Ed Yourdon

Younger folks might prefer skating their way from place to place, at times much to the annoyance of others.

Passing

“Passing” by star.rush360

OK, a few older folks still grab a board and go, like Trevor. But I dream of where of transportation will take us in the future.

Modern Man

“Modern Man” by Jeremy Brooks

Take your camera with you everywhere this week. Transportation is all around, the challenge this week may be in deciding what you want to shoot. Good luck!

Farewell, Photochallenge!

This will be my last post on Photochallenge.org. I started following the challenges in 2008, looking for a way to take my photography to the next level. I found the challenges were just what I needed — I was inspired, challenged, and grew as a photographer.

When Trevor announced that he was looking for a volunteer to join the site, I jumped at the chance. Trevor had an ambitious plan to do a 365 challenge, with a new theme every day. Together, we tackled the task of writing a new post every day, along with the posts for the monthly challenges. It was quite a challenge, but we managed to do it. As I kept up shooting the challenges, I continued to push my photography forward.

During 2010, we adopted a more modest challenge: A theme that would last all year, but would only require one photo each week. I found that I was still able to keep up with the challenges, but demands on my time were growing, and it was becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the blogging and the shooting. Eventually, I decided that it was time to hang up my photochallenge blogging hat.

I will continue to post on my Flickr stream, and would like to thank everyone who followed along with the challenges, commented on the posts and photos, and suggested themes for us to use. I would like to say a special thank you to Trevor, who gave me the inspiration to push myself and my photography to new levels.

Now get out there and shoot, and above all, have fun doing it!

Casting Call! Moderators needed

As the PhotoChallenge community continues to grow, even if it’s ever so slowly, we’re seeing an increased level of activity on the PhotoChallenge.org Flickr Group. Usually the discussions are question oriented, and someone rises up and hooks it up with the solution. However, this past year we’ve seen a massive increase in those participating on a regular basis. There’s enough folks submitting to the Group Pool that every so often, I realize I’ve never seen a photographer’s work before. That’s a cool realization, BTW.

Every so often though, I see a submission that makes me think, “How does this photo fit the challenge?” Sometimes I may be wrong. This dilemma is kinda scary. No one wants to say, “Hey, that doesn’t fit”, only to find out that the photographer is simply more artistic than you thought. Unfortunately, Jeremy and I can’t hover around on Flickr, waiting to pounce on someone spamming our Pool.

I’m getting to it…

We’re looking for a couple of folks, who have already demonstrated their allegiance to the PhotoChallenge.org community by actively participating in our challenges for at least the last half of this year, 2009. We would like to promote you into the vital role of “Moderator” on the PhotoChallenge.org Group. Do you have what it takes? Are you already viewing the majority of the submissions, even commenting on them too? Then that’s probably you!

If you’re interested do one of these things:

  1. Comment on this post.
  2. Use the Contact Us page.
  3. Shoot Jeremy or Trevor a message on Flickr.
  4. Shout loudly. (No, don’t do this one.)

Jeremy and I will take a look at how many are interested, and talk amongst ourselves for a bit. We’ll let you all know, and maybe even post something here as an announcement.

What's this all about?

This blog is published by Trevor Carpenter. In late 2007 I blogged on my personal blog about my own desire to grow in my photographic skills, the October Challenge. I challenged myself to shoot a genre of photography that was a bit foreign to me, black and whites. A handful of readers decided to follow along and took the challenge too. An idea was born.

When the October Challenge was over, I blogged about how much fun I had and how much I felt that I had grown. Quickly people started telling me that I should do another one. So, with a one month break, I announced the December Challenge. This time we would all commit to shooting a portrait a day, all month long. By the end of December, 2007, over 30 people had participated!

Again, as the December Challenge came to a close, many were asking me, “What’s next?” I decided that I liked the every other month pattern, and choose February, 2008 as the next month. However, I also had just finished following Bill Wadman and his 365Portraits.com. All year long, in 2007, Bill took a portrait a day. How awesome it was to see his amazing work. Wanting to help others accomplish something similar, I decided to launch the 2008 Challenge.

These challenges had been blogged on my personal blog, mixed with posts about my family and my life. With the increased traffic and interest, I decided to dedicate a special location, just for The Challenges. Come follow along as we challenge each other to become better photographers, and maybe one day, you’ll be brave enough to join us!