Friday, August 27, 2010

Composition part 11: lead room

Continuing a series on basic composition rules to further enhance the quality of your photographs if you are not aware of them yet. Previous subjects:
1. The rule of thirds
2. Choice of background
3. Framing within the frame
4. Leading lines
5. Viewpoint
6. Cropping (general)
7. Cropping (special shapes)
8. Balancing elements
9. Symmetry and patterns
10. Creating depth
I hesitate to tackle the subject of lead room, because to me it is very intuitive. However, it appears that people still fall into the trap of doing this wrong, so here we go. Simply stated, the rule requires that if the subject is in motion, there should be plenty of space in front of it included in the frame to give the viewer an idea where it is going. A variation on this is when a subject is clearly looking at something, there should be plenty of space in front of it included in the frame to give the viewer an idea where he/she is looking. Like all rules, it can be broken to great effect in special circumstances, but in general it holds up very well. As an illustration, my shot In flight. This would be much less effective if the heron would be placed top left in the frame on another lines of thirds focal point, whilst still flying in the same direction.