Tips and Tricks: Give Them Somewhere To Go

Posted on November 20, 2014

If you are a regular reader, you have probably seen a few Tips and Tricks on composition like leading lines and anchor points. When it comes to people and animals in motion, another element can also be used to keep the viewer engaged. By keeping the subject isolated in one third of the image and having them face toward the other two-thirds (rule of thirds), it gives them somewhere to go in the frame. If they are looking out of frame it often leaves the viewer wondering what the animal is looking at or where they are going next.

The South American Grey Fox in the image on the left is facing into the mostly empty two-thirds of the frame. For the viewer this gives the subject a direction to go. Likewise, the eagle in the image above is headed into the frame. The buildings in the background are not distracting enough to divert your attention from the main subject, but present enough to let you know this is an urban environment.


In these images I am breaking the established rules. The owl in the shot on the left is facing out of frame. To me this gives the impression that he is mourning or lamenting something. The hummingbird is filling most of the frame with his wings and tail feathers forming leading lines that flow through his beak.





Even in this image with a fairly inactive subject, it gives the buffalo somewhere in the frame to move into as he grazes. Had he been facing the same direction but on the right side of the image, it would look like he’s leaving the frame.

People are animals too. Make sure to also give your human subject matter somewhere to go in the frame.





Stay Updated Join the newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.