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Thread: Composing Shots

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    Composing Shots

    I am just starting out taking photography seriously as a hobby (though I've been taking photos for years). When it come to talking about photos it would be useful to be able to describe where you are on the photo. The 'rule of thirds' is a good guide (and the tutorial on this site excellent), but do the points of intersection have names? I've not been able to find anything with a quick internet search and so come up with the following for my own use:
    Dividing a photo into thirds and then include the mid points (ie sixths), so, including the edges that is seven lines - doingthe same horizontally and vertically results in 49 points on the photo that can be named (sufficient resolution for me). Starting in the bottom left hand corner I'd label the vertical axis 1, 12, 2, 23, 3, 34, 4 and the horizontal axis a, ab, b, bc, c, cd, d. This means that the four key points (where the thirds intersect) and 2c, 3c, 2d, 3d. I'd be interested to know if there is an accepted system, or anyone has another (better) one.

    Graham

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Composing Shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham View Post
    Dividing a photo into thirds and then include the mid points (ie sixths), so, including the edges that is seven lines
    'fraid you lost me at that point , Graham.

    By the way, welcome to CiC. Hope you're going to be a long-term member and enjoy being part of the forum

    With the RoTs you have two vertical lines and two horizontal line. There are four cross-over points (top-left; top-right; bottom-left; bottom-right). That's it as far as my photography is concerned - 4 intersections. Not sure where all the other lines and numbers come from. If it's from the tutorial on here - I need to read it again!

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    Re: Composing Shots

    Thanks for the quick reply - the question really is do those four point have names? In terms of describing where to locate elements of a photograph I feel that I need to have the ability to describe more than just those four (though so far I've only needed to refer to two; top-right and top-left in your nomenclature; but as I said, I'm just beginning).

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Composing Shots

    I've never heard them called anything else. I think all photographers understand what's being said if you refer to the top-left intersection, top-right intersection, etc.

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    Re: Composing Shots

    Welcome to CiC, Graham.

    You can call the cross-over points whatever you like, as long as you know where they are. Donald has told you the "normal" or typical way we describe them, either as top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. On some Nikon DSLR's, we can activate these rule of third grids on the viewfinder that is why it's much easier to compose the shots . I'm not so sure about the Canon side. Feel free to visit the tutorials and technique section of CiC and you'll learn a lot in no time just as I did. Good luck.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Composing Shots

    Graham

    As Willie says, you can give points in the frame any name you wish. But if it's for the purpose of communicating with others, then I think the accepted descriptors are what you would need to use. But if the naming protocol you refer to is for your own use only, then, of course, you can use whatever descriptors make sense to you.

    But if you do add other points the key thing to remember, of course, is that you are no longer applying the rule of the thirds - because there can only ever be 4 points of intersection when applying the RoTs model.

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    Re: Composing Shots

    Thanks Willie - I think most cameras allow you to put a grid in the viewfinder - haven't progressed to a dslr yet - next birthday. What I was finding is that I've identified a few 'shots' that I can review and then go back at a different time and take the shot again. The first time I'd tend to carefully compose the shot; but when I went back to take another shot it would be all wrong - so I was just looking for a way to describe the composition to help with replicating it.

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    Re: Composing Shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham View Post
    Thanks Willie - I think most cameras allow you to put a grid in the viewfinder - haven't progressed to a dslr yet - next birthday. What I was finding is that I've identified a few 'shots' that I can review and then go back at a different time and take the shot again. The first time I'd tend to carefully compose the shot; but when I went back to take another shot it would be all wrong - so I was just looking for a way to describe the composition to help with replicating it.
    You will eventually learn all of that in time. One more thing to consider is the field of view that your camera shows at the viewfinder. Not all can show you a 100% field of view at the viewfinder, and that can affect the way you compose your shot. You might thought that some parts would be cropped on the final image so you adjust the power point, but in reality there are still some leeway on the edges for them. A nice look at your camera's user guide manual can help you identify this. Hope this helps, Graham.

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    Re: Composing Shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham View Post
    What I was finding is that I've identified a few 'shots' that I can review and then go back at a different time and take the shot again. The first time I'd tend to carefully compose the shot; but when I went back to take another shot it would be all wrong - so I was just looking for a way to describe the composition to help with replicating it.
    Hi Graham,

    OK, I see where you're coming from, so if you're making personal notes, you could do what you like

    Thinking about 'the problem' though.
    If I were to do this and let's assume I can get back to the exact same taking spot and I only need to recreate the image, there are two options;
    a) print a low quality, small copy of the first shoot (on plain, not photo, paper) and make notes/draw on it, or
    b) pick something obvious in the image and describe which RoT intersection it is on (tl, tr, bl or br) and the focal length used - the last part stops you having to be so specific about 'this was just on the left, that was just at the bottom, the other was just on the right' etc.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ...

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