Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Composition part 12: rule of odds

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:
The topic for this post is a slightly controversial one, because it is less intuitive. The rule of odds states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects (1-3-5-etc). Of course, many shots of a couple seem to break this rule immediately, but this needs a bit more thinking. Often couples are photographed in an intimate way, touching one another, effectively becoming one combined subject ("two become one" as the Spice Girls would sing). And indeed, when I take pictures of two colleagues, where that physical contact is obviously lacking, I tend to be far less satisfied with the results. This rule holds for persons, animals, objects... and of course is limited to small numbers: no-one will notice whether your sea shells shot has 123 or 124 of them in it. As an illustration, my shot Three of a kind. This shot would be less pleasing with just two of the peaks.