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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 16:03:25   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Even after reading those articles, I don't know why I prefer the second, I just do


One has five silos. It's also either 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratio, while the other seems to be 5:4 or 4:3. There's a reason all our TVs are now 16:9 and not 4:3.

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Aug 24, 2018 16:05:40   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
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.


This works for me because of the placement of the horses relative to each other, and the angle of the fence behind them. The fence ties them together.

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Aug 24, 2018 16:07:34   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
RichardTaylor wrote:
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.


The second photo has a triangular shape in it. That's what keeps the eye moving through it. Can you see it?

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Aug 24, 2018 16:19:50   #
burkphoto (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)


Here's one I like that is full of triangles. It's in Shenandoah Caverns, in Virginia.


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Aug 24, 2018 16:31:08   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
burkphoto wrote:
Here's one I like that is full of triangles. It's in Shenandoah Caverns, in Virginia.
Thanks for checking out the other postings, Bill, and thank you for your photo! I tried to count if there was an odd number of triangles, but lost track. Sometimes a compelling photo speaks for itself

And with that segue, Dan saying he hadn't noticed the triangles of his swamp pic and Keni seeing lines and shadows (but not triangles and threes): most of my favorite photos of my own were done without a lot of conscious thought. For me it's probably experience, for some it may be a background in art or design or natural talent, and for others hard work and practice. Being able to engage the right brain and just tell the left brain to be quiet for awhile is my favorite state of mind

These aren't necessarily my favorite bird photos, but more a comparison of the stories told by the numbers.


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Aug 24, 2018 17:30:36   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Thanks for checking out the other postings, Bill, and thank you for your photo! I tried to count if there was an odd number of triangles, but lost track. Sometimes a compelling photo speaks for itself

And with that segue, Dan saying he hadn't noticed the triangles of his swamp pic and Keni seeing lines and shadows (but not triangles and threes): most of my favorite photos of my own were done without a lot of conscious thought. For me it's probably experience, for some it may be a background in art or design or natural talent, and for others hard work and practice: being able to engage the right brain and just tell the left brain to be quiet for awhile

These aren't necessarily my favorite bird photos, but more a comparison of the stories told by the numbers.
Thanks for checking out the other postings, Bill, ... (show quote)


There are parts of the brain that deal with space, time, music, and design. they're good counterpoints to the verbal processor. There are many "rules" or "guidelines" you can read in any photography text, or hear about in any good photography class. But it is the VISUAL examples that stick with us, subconsciously.

The subconscious mind processes what we like or dislike about every image we see, and internalizes it. The brain sums up what we experience and learns the patterns that work.

Over time, photography becomes like driving or playing sports or riding a bike. We just do it. That's why frequent practice with the camera and with post-processing is so important, especially when you're learning. The more you use the camera, the easier it is to get an interesting composition, quickly. We will have more internalized options. We will also know our tools better, and will need to think less about them while using them.

I don't think about composition when I'm working behind the camera. It "just happens." Then, when I'm in post-production mode, I simply refine what I saw earlier. It's a visual process.

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Aug 24, 2018 17:42:06   #
artBob (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)


Some great examples! Some will perhaps be seen even more favorably after reading what's below--I hope.

After reading the first article (Four Rules of Photographic Composition, Elizabeth Halford,https://digital-photography-school.com/four-rules-of-photographic-composition/), I thought it could be better brought into line with traditional principles of composition, some of its rules being a bit narrow.

RULE OF THIRDS – This may be the most widely known rule of composition among photographers. There’s even an option in most DSLRs to switch on a visual grid in your viewfinder. This rule states that for an image to be visually interesting, the main focus of the image needs to lie along one of the lines marked in thirds.

Ruh-roh. The example given actually shows a no-no in the world of design. Of the four overlaps created by drawing “thirds,” only two are suggested. Importantly, and applying to the “Rule of Odds” below, these points of interest (often called “Centers of Interest” in design and composition) do not work unless you balance them.
Bottom left creates a calmer sort of dynamic tension. Upper left creates a more dynamic (has the “energy that a high thing has, the potential to fall). The center of interest in her example is the least recommended, as it leads the eye to the bottom corner, and off to the next work in an exhibit. In my photo, the center of interest (the red buildings) is balanced by two "weaker" areas, as good Asymmetrical compositions do. (Asymmetrical Composition is the generator of th oversimplified "rule of thirds")

Rule of odds – The rule of odds states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects.
A kind of oversimplification, assuming that “dynamic” is the reaction you are going for. Even numbered things (or more usually just one thing/major object) are appealing if centered and the reaction wanted is serenity or calm, the intent of the photo of the pilar in the snow.

I haven't yet looked at the other sources, although Linda mentions Triangular, which is also tied in with Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Balance. If the other resources do not point out the other two types of composition (Rhythmical and Circular/Spiral), I suggest searching them out. Most good photos and art use more than one, as the second example of mine does, as do several of the previous examples in this thread.


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Aug 24, 2018 18:30:52   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
burkphoto wrote:
There are parts of the brain that deal with space, time, music, and design. they're good counterpoints to the verbal processor. There are many "rules" or "guidelines" you can read in any photography text, or hear about in any good photography class. But it is the VISUAL examples that stick with us, subconsciously.

The subconscious mind processes what we like or dislike about every image we see, and internalizes it. The brain sums up what we experience and learns the patterns that work.

Over time, photography becomes like driving or playing sports or riding a bike. We just do it. That's why frequent practice with the camera and with post-processing is so important, especially when you're learning. The more you use the camera, the easier it is to get an interesting composition, quickly. We will have more internalized options. We will also know our tools better, and will need to think less about them while using them.

I don't think about composition when I'm working behind the camera. It "just happens." Then, when I'm in post-production mode, I simply refine what I saw earlier. It's a visual process.
There are parts of the brain that deal with space,... (show quote)
Great stuff, Bill. Thanks again!

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Aug 24, 2018 18:36:12   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
artBob wrote:
Some great examples! Some will perhaps be seen even more favorably after reading what's below--I hope.

After reading the first article (Four Rules of Photographic Composition, Elizabeth Halford,https://digital-photography-school.com/four-rules-of-photographic-composition/), I thought it could be better brought into line with traditional principles of composition, some of its rules being a bit narrow.

RULE OF THIRDS – This may be the most widely known rule of composition among photographers. There’s even an option in most DSLRs to switch on a visual grid in your viewfinder. This rule states that for an image to be visually interesting, the main focus of the image needs to lie along one of the lines marked in thirds.

Ruh-roh. The example given actually shows a no-no in the world of design. Of the four overlaps created by drawing “thirds,” only two are suggested. Importantly, and applying to the “Rule of Odds” below, these points of interest (often called “Centers of Interest” in design and composition) do not work unless you balance them.
Bottom left creates a calmer sort of dynamic tension. Upper left creates a more dynamic (has the “energy that a high thing has, the potential to fall). The center of interest in her example is the least recommended, as it leads the eye to the bottom corner, and off to the next work in an exhibit. In my photo, the center of interest (the red buildings) is balanced by two "weaker" areas, as good Asymmetrical compositions do. (Asymmetrical Composition is the generator of th oversimplified "rule of thirds")

Rule of odds – The rule of odds states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects.
A kind of oversimplification, assuming that “dynamic” is the reaction you are going for. Even numbered things (or more usually just one thing/major object) are appealing if centered and the reaction wanted is serenity or calm, the intent of the photo of the pilar in the snow.

I haven't yet looked at the other sources, although Linda mentions Triangular, which is also tied in with Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Balance. If the other resources do not point out the other two types of composition (Rhythmical and Circular/Spiral), I suggest searching them out. Most good photos and art use more than one, as the second example of mine does, as do several of the previous examples in this thread.
Some great examples! Some will perhaps be seen eve... (show quote)
Thanks for commenting and your examples, Bob. Sorry about the confusion re one of the articles. I only included that for the Rule of Odds paragraph. The scope of this topic is to explore the "odd" aspect of composition, not to get into all the others, but especially Rule of Thirds - which is important enough to have its own thread.

I appreciate your mentioning that odds are at odds (so to speak) with dynamic. Also, your example of single, centered for a feeling of serenity, is the kind of posting I had in mind.

btw, it can be tedious and time-consuming to correct all the weird characters that show up when incompatible word processing programs are used, but it can be done. I believe it's mostly apostrophes and quotation marks. When you see these after posting to UHH, just click "edit" like a regular edit of your UHH comments. Remove all the weird stuff and retype the characters.

Appreciated!

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Aug 24, 2018 20:11:21   #
mallen1330
 
Linda From Maine wrote:

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!
I was about to bring it up, but you beat me to the punch! The Fibonacci sequence is common in nature, http://io9.gizmodo.com/5985588/15-uncanny-examples-of-the-golden-ratio-in-nature. I find it's a fun exercise to discover and document this in photographs. I numbered the petals in the sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8...in the photo below.

Note that the Fibonacci sequence is related to the Golden Ratio in that the ratio of any two sequential numbers increasingly approaches the Golden Ratio(1.6179) as you go higher in the sequence. So, dividing each number by the previous number gives: 1 / 1 = 1, 2 / 1 = 2, 3 / 2 = 1.5, and so on up to 144 / 89 = 1.6179.

You can find the Golden Ratio in ancient and modern art and architecture.


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Aug 24, 2018 22:15:11   #
camerapapi (a regular here)
 
Basic rules of composition is what brings order to our images. I will briefly discuss, with these images, those rules applying the principles outlined by Linda.

The first image is a pretty good example of balance. I made this image aboard a cruise after asking these girls to pose for me. Balance is so obvious that I do not believe any explanation is needed.

The second image shows the triangle image described by Linda during her explanations of composition. The sun to the left and both boats on the right make a perfect triangle, somewhat limited to the eye due to the two dimensional aspect of still images.

The last image is a pretty good representation of photographing several objects in the same frame. There is order in the sails to the right but the order is broken by the presence of other objects within the frame erratically located like the palms, the flag and the trailer in the background. The eye is drawn to the sails with their bright colors but the brightness on the trailer attracts the eye since we tend to look first at the brightest part of the subject when viewing a photograph.


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Aug 25, 2018 00:49:16   #
repleo (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:

Why use three:
- framing your subject with two objects suggests balance and harmony.
An obvious exception would be "couples" shots: weddings, engagements, two kids, or other "relationships"



Some examples of 'couples' shots. Although 'couples' shots may lack the pure visual impact of 'Three's' they create so much opportunity for creating dynamic within the frame. The space between the pair can tell a story and become the subject in its own right.

In #1 you can tell the guy on the right wants to listen to the music but also wants to keep a safe distance from the crazy dancing bear and to be far enough away that he doesn't feel obligated to make a 'donation'.

In #2 the balloon guy is obviously sneering something like 'You want a WHAT, kid?' Reminds me of Wall St Girl facing down the raging bull.

#3 the relationship appears close and intense, but not intimate.

#4 the relationship is probably intimate despite the apparent indifference. They could be an old married couple!

Great topic Linda. However, I feel it unfortunate that we refer to these gems of wisdom as 'Rules'. As soon as the word 'Rules' is mentioned, somebody wants to break them. I see them more as recipes. You won't go wrong following the recipe, but you can always fiddle a bit to make it your own.


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Aug 25, 2018 08:04:17   #
minniev
 
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 alerted me to this thread since she knows I like discussions of this type. Interesting photos and conversation thus far, as well as good links to explore. I am not sure I am even remotely qualified to join in since I cannot recall any time in my photo journey that I have counted anything I was shooting. Maybe I count on some subconscious level but I really think I don't. Sometimes a more skilled photographer will point out about an image of mine that its strength is due to having three or some other number of something, but I can take no credit for doing it on purpose. I simply shot what I shot and it happened to be that number of things (birds, tomatoes, rock formations, whatever). My own thinking about this concept is pretty undeveloped, so you can see why I feel unqualified to join.

Nevertheless, I picked a set of images that are all the same scene except for the numbers of posts and there isn't much else there to contribute. I do not pretend these are great images (they are basically strays, SOOC, chosen for the discussion rather than artistic value). I'm not making any kind of claim about anything they may illustrate, but welcome any comments about whether any are more or less interesting because of numbers alone.
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Aug 25, 2018 08:13:19   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
mallen1330 wrote:
You can find the Golden Ratio in ancient and modern art and architecture.
Thanks so much, Mallen! And right off, the article points out that flower petals are often in 3's and 5's. Relating back to kenievans's comments on page 1, "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." - man, math and patterns!

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Aug 25, 2018 08:15:52   #
repleo (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
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!


Although the Golden Spiral / Fibonacci Curve occurs quite often in nature, I find that it can be very effective with small groups of people. The Golden Spiral can be quite difficult to visualize without a 'guide' or a lot of practice when you are shooting, but there is an crop overlay for it in PS. It is worth playing with it. You have to cycle through all of the orientations and flips, but if you find one that is close it can make a huge difference to the composition of your crop. It can make for a very natural but 'together' grouping that draws the eye into a principal subject -eg baby/Mom/Granny.

I wish I could figure out how to print a sample with the overlay superimposed to demonstrate.

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