Three Rules of Composition


In these images of San Francisco, 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.

Rule of Thirds

San Francisco 324
Captured by David Grimmett 

In this picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, the rule of thirds can be identified.  When you look at this image your eyes look upon that first tower, hence the primary subject of the photo is the largest tower of the bridge.  The area that the bridge takes up is about 2/3 of the image, while the blue sky and ocean take up the other 1/3.

Leading Lines

San Francisco 125
Captured by David Grimmett

There are several leading lines in this shot. The first set of lines can be seen at the top of the photo. Electrical wires above the left side of the street can be seen heading from the top of the image toward the horizon. The street can also be considered a leading line; It paves a path through the city. The observer’s eyes follow the road through the photo until they reach the skyline.

Depth of Field

San Francisco 1037
Captured by David Grimmett

In this picture, the area around the center is blurred. The sunlit boardwalk is in focus, this is the subject matter. The observer’s eyes will skip over the top and bottom of the image and focus on the center of the image.


It’s important to follow these rules in photography because it will help your audience find the subject matter and appreciate the images.

All photos were captured with a Nikon 3400 in San Francisco, May 19-21, 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.