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The Rule of Odds - what does it mean, and when should you use it? Share your photos!
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Aug 24, 2018 11:54:55   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
Inspired by a comment ebrunner made in his "Sunflowers" topic

As with most (all?) "rules" of composition, it's helpful to know the why, as well as to know when to ignore. Click here to see the list of articles I use for the below bullets.

Why use three:
- framing your subject with two objects suggests balance and harmony

- three objects in a frame tend to form a triangle or line, both considered pleasurable shapes

- Having an odd number of things in a composition means your eye and brain can't pair them up or group them easily. There's somehow always one thing left over, which keeps your eyes moving across the composition.

Please feel free to include photos as part of your discussion. Many thanks!

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Aug 24, 2018 11:56:53   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
Even after reading those articles, I don't know why I prefer the second, I just do





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Aug 24, 2018 13:15:33   #
kenievans (a regular here)
 
Great topic Linda. I think we have to look back at the fact that humans in our current state are really not that far removed in relative terms from our rural, hunter/gatherer ancestors. We have lived and interacted in the natural physical world for many more years than we have lived in the modern industrial one. Nature is not a world of order in terms of even numbers and straight lines. Things grow in odd shapes, sizes and numbers. Our brains developed to look for and see patterns in the disorder to give us clues and answers that helped us thrive and survive. I think that modern humans still feel more comfortable with the "oddness" of nature and mimic it in our art and lives. There are some that must have order and even numbers but there are usually other underlying issues that drive that. Perhaps as we evolve and continue reduce or destroy the precious natural world left to us we will no longer feel the need to seek the odd.


(Download)

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Aug 24, 2018 13:21:31   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Even after reading those articles, I don't know why I prefer the second, I just do


I prefer the second image as well - the first one is just too "ordered" to my eye.

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Aug 24, 2018 13:46:31   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
kenievans wrote:
Great topic Linda. I think we have to look back at the fact that humans in our current state are really not that far removed in relative terms from our rural, hunter/gatherer ancestors. We have lived and interacted in the natural physical world for many more years than we have lived in the modern industrial one. Nature is not a world of order in terms of even numbers and straight lines. Things grow in odd shapes, sizes and numbers. Our brains developed to look for and see patterns in the disorder to give us clues and answers that helped us thrive and survive. I think that modern humans still feel more comfortable with the "oddness" of nature and mimic it in our art and lives. There are some that must have order and even numbers but there are usually other underlying issues that drive that. Perhaps as we evolve and continue reduce or destroy the precious natural world left to us we will no longer feel the need to seek the odd.
Great topic Linda. I think we have to look back a... (show quote)
Terrific thoughtful and interesting comments, Keni. Thank you so much! Love the balance of your pic too; very calming.

I am curious about how the Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral and Fibonacci fit into the discussion of a dis-ordered world. I have zero education in those (but I've seen, and helped care for, real live chambered nautiluses ), so if someone wants to expand, please do!

RichardTaylor wrote:
I prefer the second image as well - the first one is just too "ordered" to my eye.
In this case, I think ordered equates to boring. Static?

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Aug 24, 2018 13:55:30   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
An obvious exception would be "couples" shots: weddings, engagements, two kids, or other "relationships" - such as these two buddies of a different persuasion

I just want to remind new photographers to be open in your thinking. Once you are comfortable with all the rules of composition, you will be able to see the importance of understanding the exceptions.



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Aug 24, 2018 13:59:05   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
It all depends on what, and who, i am shooting.
Here are some "family" images where I feel having an "even" number of subjects works.

Edit: Posted before I saw the above post.
#1 lots - the people in the choir loved it.
#1 lots - the people in the choir loved it....
(Download)
#2 Lifelong friends.
#2 Lifelong friends....
(Download)
#3 Mother and daughter
#3 Mother and daughter...
(Download)

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Aug 24, 2018 14:02:56   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
RichardTaylor wrote:
Edit: Posted before I saw the above post.
Great minds thinking alike, lol. One or more of the articles I read pointed out that any number above five doesn't really apply to the properties of "Odds" because we aren't likely to be aware of, let alone stop and count, how many. Your two close-ups give me the sense that people are very comfortable around you and your camera. Thank you for including in the discussion!

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Aug 24, 2018 14:06:20   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
Sometimes odd works just as well.
#1 Family
#1 Family...
(Download)
#2 The car colours help as well.
#2 The car colours help as well....
(Download)
#3 Family.
#3 Family....
(Download)

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Aug 24, 2018 14:08:28   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Great minds thinking alike, lol. One or more of the articles I read pointed out that any number above five doesn't really apply to the properties of "Odds" because we aren't likely to be aware of, let alone stop and count, how many. Your two close-ups give me the sense that people are very comfortable around you and your camera. Thank you for including in the discussion!


Thanks - they are very close to us.

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Aug 24, 2018 14:20:15   #
DWU2 (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Inspired by a comment ebrunner made in his "Sunflowers" topic

As with most (all?) "rules" of composition, it's helpful to know the why, as well as to know when to ignore. Click here to see the list of articles I use for the below bullets.

Why use three:
- framing your subject with two objects suggests balance and harmony

- three objects in a frame tend to form a triangle or line, both considered pleasurable shapes

- Having an odd number of things in a composition means your eye and brain can't pair them up or group them easily. There's somehow always one thing left over, which keeps your eyes moving across the composition.

Please feel free to include photos as part of your discussion. Many thanks!
Inspired by a comment ebrunner made in his "S... (show quote)


Linda, here's a shot which conforms with you theory about forming a triangle.


(Download)

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Aug 24, 2018 14:20:48   #
RichardTaylor (a regular here)
 
DWU2 wrote:
Linda, here's a shot which conforms with you theory about forming a triangle.


Good example.

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Aug 24, 2018 14:34:12   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
DWU2 wrote:
Linda, here's a shot which conforms with you theory about forming a triangle.
Neat-o. Thanks! Were you conscious of the triangle when you shot, or just the three's?

I confess I'd not have seen the triangle prior to reading the articles. But that just speaks to my lack of education in art and design

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Aug 24, 2018 15:08:36   #
DWU2 (a regular here)
 
I wish I could say I saw it, but I just saw a pleasing shot.

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Aug 24, 2018 15:15:49   #
kenievans (a regular here)
 
While these are not spectacular examples of photography, what caught my eye and caused me to take these shots were the lines in the shadows and the walls. The rule of three or triangles never crossed my mind but in working them later I find that I prefer the top one because of those design elements. The second one doesn't appear to be as dimensional.


(Download)


(Download)

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