Photographic Elements

This post is dedicated to basic photography composition rules. I have carefully chosen several pictures in which I feel properly depict the following: rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field. I have a deep sense of appreciate for photographers that not only understand these principles, but apply them. A successful photographer truly is one who regularly utilizes the various principles and rules of photography.

Rule of Thirds

I have chosen to analyze a photo of my husband, taken by PowerDay Photography© ( My brother-in-law, Jedd Mumm, owns the photography business. They specialize in photoshoots of skiers and snowboarders up at Grand Targhee Resort. Below we see the original picture. I’m personally a fan of the Grand Tetons in the background.


As you can see, I’ve done a draw-over for the photography principle of the rule of thirds. This photographic element suggests that the most important elements in the picture should be positioned along the lines, or even at the points where they intersect. My husband is the main point of attraction in this photo. We see that he is almost in the middle of the upper quadrant intersection. There are no additional parts of the photo that are a distraction from the skier.


The picture I took that I feel like represents the rule of thirds is displayed below. This picture was taken just in my backyard next to a patch of blackberries. Although there is some depth of field seen in this example, I would like to focus on how it correctly demonstrates the rule of thirds.


As you can see, I’ve drawn over this image with a bright pink, showing the grid on which photography is based. The purple flowers line up exactly at an intersection of the lines. This is why this image is a good representation of the rule of thirds. It captures an image and creates a focus. Even though there is a lot of image space, I feel like it’s really balanced as the background is blurred out, putting even more of a focus on the beautiful flowers in the front.


Leading Lines

I absolutely love the smell of lavender. I think that lavender fields are an excellent example of photography principle of leading lines. This specific field is actually a lavender field in England. It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it? I will shed some light on how the photographer utilized the photography principle of leading lines to make this image so powerful and attractive to the eye.

Lavender field at Snowshill Lavender, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

I used red and yellow to show the various “paths” seen in the image. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the furrows, and any path or object that provides some kind of breakage or separation between the rows. The natural lines drawn in the image assist in directing our eyes to the focus, or to a median of some sort. In this case, our eyes are directed to where the image levels out, at the sunset. I’ve drawn red over the furrows in the field, and the yellow is over green strips which also provide a nice contrast.


I happened to go home this weekend, so I decided take my dog on a ride in the truck. Growing up, I had this route that I’d drive, and it basically just followed some back roads along several fields and farms. Now, here is my own photograph of a picture that I feel properly represents the principle of leading lines.


In my draw-over, I’ve illustrated the “lines” that help shape and create this simple photograph. In addition to the road itself guiding the eye, I noticed that the simple fence along the left side of the road demonstrated the principle of leading lines. Also, the green field also creates some contrast, emphasizing a sense of direction. I’ve drawn over the fence to show just how it guides the eye. On the other side of the road is the ditch, which also creates a line for the eye to follow. A little bonus of the leading lines photograph is the yellow and back sign in the left-hand corner. While it follows the rule of thirds, it creates a vivid contrast in this photo.


Depth of Field

Here is the professional picture I chose to illustrate the principle of depth of field. I was originally directed to Pinterest, but found that this image came from a blog. The photographer obviously wanted this specific daisy to stand out and be unique, hence blurring the background. I really like this principle because we don’t necessarily eliminate the rest of the picture, we just show our audience what we see as important or significant. /2010/10/3-short-depth-of-field-and-3-long-depth.html

This next picture was taken up at Darby Canyon in Driggs, ID. As you can see, I’m successfully demonstrating the depth of field principle. I have taken a baby pinecone, and wanted to portray a message to my audience. While the main focus is on the baby pinecone, it adds an emphasized importance. This is what’s great about this principle. It’s easy to narrow in on the focus, and blur out the rest of the picture, even though it has its own importance. In the background we see a forest, full of majestic trees. This is the future life of this baby pinecone. A pinecone has the potential to grow into a large pine tree, which then fills another spot in the forest.


I absolutely loved this lesson. I learned a great deal about the various r rules of photography, and all of the “whys”. I feel like I have always had an eye for photography, however I knew nothing about the details or skills needed to create such art. After learning about the rule of thirds, I have a better understanding of how to focus in on an image without zooming up really closely. This principle taught me how to utilize extra space in a photograph. I also learned about leading lines and how when an image has lines of some sort, it aids in directing the viewer’s eye to a certain point or object. It also creates an attractive visual. Lastly, learning about the depth of field, I’ve been able to understand and appreciate the blurring of a background in a picture. It creates such a unique focus and style to the photograph.


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