Essential Rules of Basic Photography Aaron Trevino

Rule of Thirds - Frame your image with the subject off center. It’s more pleasing to the eye and appears more natural than placing the subject in the center.

The first thing that draws attention in this photo is the rock because it is brightly colored compared to the red background. The exposure here is dark and it helps to bring more attention to the detail of the rock. The focus here is sharp on the rock. The depth of field is deep, it might help the photo to be taken from a different position so the DOF can be more shallow and have the rock more in focus. The lighting here is soft and there is only two colors, red and grey. The colors stand contrast each other and help the rock to stand out. The subject is off center in a rule of thirds position but it could have been done better.

Leading Lines

Use architectural lines – walls, fences, roads, or any lines to lead the eye through the photograph and draw attention toward the main subject.

In the bottom left photo, the first thing that draws attention in the photo is the subject person. The subject is a bit overexposed while everywhere else is underexposed. This causes the subject to stick out. The subject is in a sharp focus with detail being clear and a shallow depth of field. The lighting here is soft, which takes away unpleasant shadows that would've been on the subject and background had the lighting been harsh. There is many colors in this photo, which detracts from the subject. This photo might've been better in black and white or a more monochrome. The photo could also use improved composition. The background is busy but the subject is in a good position and leading lines are utilized to bring attention to the subject.


Declutter the background, zoom in tight to eliminate background “distractions”, or change your angle so your subject remains the focus of the image.

The main source of attention in this photo is the subject face. The exposure here is very bright, even the background. The subject is in sharp focus, which is appropriate in this photo trying to demonstrate simplicity. The depth of field is shallow, which is also appropriate since it blurs the background and brings more attention to the subject while also giving the photo a clean look. The lighting here is soft and it enhances the photo. Some colors are utilized in this photo by the photographer and they work well. The pink and green of the background complement and contrast well with the pink of the subject's shirt and face. The colors pop but they work well together. There is some blue in the top left that doesn't work well. The composition could've been made better had the blue not been present. The subject is in a good centered position, looking straight into the camera which works well as a portrait.


Create a sense of movement by adding active space (the area your subject is facing) and eliminating dead space (the area behind your subject).

In this photo, attention is brought to the bird in the tree. The exposure here is low and there is detail in the slight amount of shadows and highlights. The subject, the bird, is in clear, sharp focus. The depth of field here is semi-shallow. The back is blurred but it might've helped the photo to make the area around the bird blurred as well. The lighting is soft. It enhances the photo because it allows the photo to have finer detail. There is lack of color in this photo, it doesn't really pop. The bird is in a rule of thirds and spacing composition. There is lots of empty space in the area the bird is facing. It brings a sense of movement to the bird, as if it's looking around.

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