rules of composition – the meaning of the horizon

 

Symmetry and the rule of thirds composition example

In this short article we are going to explore very short the importance and significance of your decision as a photographer to place the horizontal line of the horizon. WE are going to use a very simple and specific example

1. It is all about the sky

rule of thirds - the sky

The horizon is placed according to the rule of thirds on the bottom side of the image defining on third ocean and two thirds sky. The subject of this image is the sky as it occupies to thirds of the image and it is the dominant of the visual composition.

2. vertical symmetry – it is all about the horizon itself

rule of thirds symmetry

In the image above, the horizon line is in the middle of the picture and defines 2 equal parts. This intent is to talk about the horizon itself as the central element. That leaves some confusion between the sky and the ocean and leaves the question: which one is more important? This is called “duality” – the competition between 2 equally important elements into an image. The subject will be treated separately

3. The ocean

IMG_5631

 

The image above follows the rule of thirds but this time the sky is the upper third leaving 2 thirds for the ocean and the ocean shores. The subject of this image is the ocean and not the sky which complements the dominance of the ground nicely.

rule of thirds - the ocean

In the image above the rule of thirds is ignored and the sky is probably a fifth of the image. We need you to compare the image with the above and be honest with yourslef: which one do you think looks better? (feel free to answer by leaving a comment below)

Conclusion

As you can see above, in very simple terms, the subject changes in each image depending on your choice of a photographer on how to use the composition rules. These are the best and easiest choices which are sending a clear message to the viewer which element is the main subject, the sky, the horizon or the ocean (or ocean shores). This is a good example of how to treat the line of horizon as the main defining composition elements . If you want to read more about the composition basics ….

 

As a viewer, please take some time and reflect if what is described above makes sense, and if you would like to think of another similar example, how would you choose to send your message
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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography