TAOP: Positioning a point

In this exercise the aim is to experiment with the different positions a point may be placed within a frame.

The exercise defines three basic classes of position for a point:

  • in the middle.
  • a little off-centre.
  • close to the edge.

It goes on to add that the centre very rarely works, because it creates a ‘static’ image.  As mentioned in my previous post I have a bias toward rule of thirds as I quickly found positioning off-centre improved my photos when I was learning in the early days – and this exercise supports what I’ve learnt previously.

The exercise asks for three different images, which I’ll talk about below.  I’ve included a black-and-white conversion of each to help more clearly illustrate how I’ve positioned the points relative to the frame.

(ISO800, 1.3sec exposure, f/8 aperture – shot in manual on a tripod due to low light indoors) 

This is as ‘in the middle’ as I dared to go – but it’s still a little off-centre.  I cropped the image as there were a lot of distracting elements in the background.  This was taken about 6 or 7 weeks ago and I was in a foul mood with this particular exercise, hence not reshooting it.  I think the notebook is on the verge of not qualifying as a point; whilst it does contrast with it’s background it’s actually quite large in the frame as a result of the cropping.

The black-and-white shows how the frame is divided by the subject.

(ISO1600, 1/200sec exposure, f/8 aperture – shot in aperture priority with a narrow aperture to ensure a broad depth-of-field and high ISO due to low light and to ‘freeze’ the action) 

In this image the ‘point’ is the man in the kayak.  I’ve placed him at the top, toward the edge, to illustrate him moving off in to the distance – with the part of the canal he’s moved through already showing what he’s travelled through and emphasising that is movement is away from camera.  While I think, for the most part, this works I think the image could be improved by showing a small region of the part of the canal he’s moving in to to emphasise that there is more distance to travel.

Again, the black-and-white version is included to illustrate how the frame is divided.  As well as the ‘point’ of the kayaker, the bank of the canal also emphasise the horizontal division of the frame.

(shot on iPhone, so fully automatic  ISO250, 1/20sec exposure, f/2.4 aperture – though that doesn’t translate directly to the size of SLR apertures) 

This is a much more conventional positioning on a point at an intersect point of the top and right-most thirds of the image.  This was very much an opportunist shot – hence shooting with the iPhone.  The contrast between the red of the ladybird and the green blanket really stood out, so I realised it would make a good example shot for this exercise.  As this particular exercise is about composition, rather than technical knowledge of my camera, I figured that it didn’t matter what I shot it with (and I only had my iPhone to hand).

The black-and-white image once more illustrates how the frame is divided.

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