When Centrally Aligning Your Subject Will Work

When Centrally Aligning Your Subject Will Work - Sometimes, despite the rules, centrally aligning your subject looks better.

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Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G in Interchangeable Lenses

Wentworth Folly

When it comes to composing your images, the rule of thirds would tell you that it's a bad idea to place your subject in the dead centre of the frame, as this is unappealing to the eye. In some cases and for some photography subjects, this may be true but there are some situations where centrally aligning the subject is the way forward. The lens you use for this kind of work will depend on the subject but generally, a wider lens will work well as you're looking to capture the surroundings for ambience as well as the main subject in the middle. Try the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm as a starting point to give you some scope to zoom in aswell.


Leading lines

When photographing distinct lines that lead your eye through the image, for example roads, fences or walls, placing the beginning of the line in the centre of the image and then letting the meander through the image can work well. The image can appear off kilter if you begin the line at one aide or another. However, feel free to experiment and see what works best with your particular leading lines. 



In situations where the is a lot of symmetrical alignment in the shot, the image will look unbalanced if you don't place the subject in the centre. For example, a long table with plated set and chairs will look a lot better in the middle of the frame. For symmetry to work properly there should be equal space at either side of your subject and of all the elements on the left and right side of the shot so it's important to take some time and ensure everything is in the correct space before shooting. 

centrally aligned

Statement pieces

If the main subject or your shot is a sculpture or a feat of architecture for example, showing its grandness by placing it in the centre of your shot can be a way to make it stand out from the crowd. Getting close to the subject and looking up at it whilst still making sure it's still in the centre of your frame can make it seem even grander and imposing and the same goes for looking down at your subject from the top of it too. 


Walkways and passageways

Looking down a long, dark tunnel with light at the end can make for a captivating and focused image but if the light at the end of the tunnel is not in the centre of the image it can ruin the effect. The same goes for photographing things like walkways, staircases, underpasses and escalators. 

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