Rules of Composition pt. 2


The animals in this blog post are from Idaho Falls Zoo, I will identify three different rules that are present in my photographs. These rules include the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and Depth of Field.

Rules of Composition

Rule of Thirds:

This rule says that the subject matter should take up 2/3 of the photo. The rest of the photo should be negative space.

Leading Lines:

Lines in the photo should lead the observer’s eyes toward the subject matter.

Depth of Field:

The subject matter of the photo should be in focus, while the rest of the negative space is out of focus.

Composition in Photography

Captured by David Grimmett

Rule of Thirds: The monkey is the subject of the photo, and takes up 2/3rds of the image. The left side of the picture is full of negative space.

Leading lines There are two major leading lines in this picture. The first line is created by the shadow in the background. It’s a diagonal line heading from bottom left to top right.

Depth of Field: The depth of field is very apparent in this photo. The monkey is in focus while the background of the image is blurred.

Captured by David Grimmett

Rule of Thirds: In this photo, the otters are the primary focus of the photo, they take up 2/3rd of the photo. Much like the previous image, the left side of the photo is negative space.

Leading lines: The edges of the rocks create lines that all lead toward the otters on the left.

Depth of Field: While the focus of the photo is the otters, the negative space above the otters are out of focus.

Captured by David Grimmett

Rule of Thirds: The target of this photo is the eagle. More specifically the eagle’s head. The eagle takes up the right half of the photo, while the left half is negative space. Two-thirds of the photo is occupied by the subject.

Leading lines: There aren’t any very strong leading lines the move toward the subject. There is a soft line that is created by the tree that falls through the center of the photo, bringing the viewers eyes toward the middle of the photo.

Depth of Field: The background of this photo is very blurred, while the subject and everything in the foreground is focused.


I have broken down these photos in order to improve my technique in photography. By using these rules and identifying them, hopefully, as a reader, you are able to understand the basic rules of photography.

All photos were captured with a Nikon 3400 at the Idaho Falls Zoo, May 13, 2017.


Identifying Elements of Photography



Throughout my own photos, many elements can be pointed out. To learn and improve my photographic skills, I need to identify the elements that show up in my work.

The Elements of Photography


  • The lines that go through the pictures lead the viewer’s eyes through the photo.


  • This element is all about the shapes that take up space in the picture.
    • Organic shapes are designs found in nature like leaves and plants.
    • Geometric shapes are basic shapes such as squares and triangles.


  • This the space within the frames of the photo.
    • Positive space is the space that the subject of the photo takes up.
    • Negative space is the space around the subject.


  • How the blacks, whites and the grays in between are used in the picture.


  • How the surfaces of the subject matter are portrayed in the photo.


  • How the colors complement or contrast with one another in the photo.

My Photographs and Element


Captured by David Grimmett

In this picture, there are several elements of photography.  The bright colors of the background focus to the mountains in the background. The hills in the foreground create a frame for the mountains to sit on; It would be classified as negative space. There is some contrast in value between the foreground and the subject. The brush on the hill and the coniferous trees poking up into the skyline add beautiful texture to the image.

Captured by David Grimmett 

The gorgeous water flowing over these rocks creates a feeling of motion. The viewer would want to follow the action back to the source. The shape of the water is definitely organic but the shape of the rocks are very geometric with sharp flat edges. The subject of the photo is flowing water which takes up about 2/3 of the picture. The space in the bottom right is negative space, a place for the viewer’s eyes to rest.

Captured by David Grimmett

I like this picture because there is a lot of repetition and similarity between shapes and color. The organic shape of flowers is pleasing to be and easy on the eye. Notice that only a handful of flowers near the center of the photo are in focus. This draws the viewer’s eyes to this point. They yellow contrasts with the green throughout the photo which helps the flowers stick out.


I’m still an amateur and hope to learn and better understand the elements of photography. Constructive criticisms are always welcome. Is there anything I can improve upon?

These pictures were taken with a Nikon 3400 on May 14, 2017.