Move The Horizon

June 3, 2010

We have been discussing the “Rule of Thirds” as respects framing our photographs, but what if we are photographing our children outdoors and we are dealing with a horizon. An example would be taking a photo of the children on the beach, or playing in an open field.

If you always follow the rule of thirds then this probably won’t be of much help. However, placing the horizon dead center through the middle of the photograph is akin to placing your subject smack dab in the middle of the photograph. In either case the photograph will not be terribly interesting.

Ok, so where do you put the horizon?

Easy, either along the top line or the bottom line of your 2 horizontal lines. Use the top line if you want to emphasize the foreground of your photo to include the beach and some of the water, use the bottom line if you want to emphasize the distant landscape and sky.

Aligning The Horizon In Photography

Aligning The Horizon In Photography

Take the photo on the right, and notice how the horizon is treated in relationship to the children playing on the beach. It is straight, and follow the top line of our “rule of thirds” formula.

But most important of all is to keep the horizon straight! A slightly off-kilter horizon line can make a horizontal picture look a little cockeyed, so try and be as careful as you can when aligning the horizon in your viewfinder.

Remember, photographs are 2 dimensional representations of 3 dimensional scenes and subjects. The question then becomes how do we lead the viewer’s eyes through the picture to give them a sense of the real depth of the image.

The answer is to use the natural lines you see through the viewfinder. You can use a line of trees, a road, sidewalk or row of buildings to create a sense of depth and perspective in your photograph.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

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