Photo Tip: Use quadrants to improve composition

By | 2015-02-18T10:20:58+00:00 Feb 18th, 2015|

When you’re standing in freezing cold water that starts coming up to your lower calves, timing is a bit of a precious commodity. After the momentary rush that wakes every part of you up passes, it can get pretty uncomfortable and even dangerous to linger for too long… unless you’re wearing the appropriate clothing and shoes. But, I digress (shocker). My point is that if you only have a short amount of time before your toes start to go numb, it’s important to have a game plan when you approach a new composition. This brings me to today’s little photo tip. I really enjoy breaking up the scene in front of me into quadrants. Typically, I’m picturing a tic tac toe board so that the scene is broken up into nine evenly distributed quadrants.

To make this process even easier, I always have a “Rule of Thirds” grid overlaid on each of my Sony camera displays. This way, when I begin figuring out how to place my camera and adjust my focal length, I can instantly see where everything falls. This photo conveys my process quite clearly. I knew that this big boulder would be my primary foreground element and I also knew that the stream was coming at me and curving to the right. To help illustrate this motion, it made sense that I “place” the boulder in the lower left quadrant and go from there. Once I had a good focal length and was satisfied with the height of my camera relative to the ground, I fine tuned the composition and fired. It’s one of those practices that I’ve really come to abide by quite religiously and thought it’d be worth sharing with all of you.

Camera: Sony a7II with the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4
Filter: Formatt Hitech Firecrest 105mm Circular Polarizer
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55
Stylization: Adobe Lightroom 5.7

3 Comments

  1. Todd Sipes February 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Almost a perfect golden triangle too. Well done!

  2. […] Brian Matiash When you’re standing in freezing cold water that starts coming up to your lower calves, […]

  3. Matt Payne February 19, 2015 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Funny, I have the exact same process in my head when I’m composing.

Please share your thoughts! (Markdown syntax is supported)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.