Are you a rule-follower?  I am.

I get anxious even bending the rules – social or actual.  So no-one is more surprised than me to see that I have embraced the dreaded center composition in my personal style.  I had always understood this to be a big photography no-no so I avoided it at all costs, believing it to be a lazy, unimaginative and visually less pleasing method of composition.

Then, last Christmas, my husband surprised me with a 35mm lens.  And the rest, as they say, is history – my love-affair with center composition took off.  Apparently some rules are meant to be broken, even by me.  The 35mm focal length lends itself so well to a center composition.  I love this wider frame view and how it adds context to my shots (and limb-chopping is a thing of the past….almost).

And with this new perspective, here’s the thing that I have come to embrace:  composition is merely the technique of framing your subject or point of interest in the shot in such a way that you draw the viewer’s attention to it.  Successfully highlighting your subject is possible in many different ways and a center composition is as valid a choice as any.

Here are some ways I’ve found to make a center composition as a key feature of my photographic style:

If you are going to use a center composition, do so with confidence. Be deliberate.  Don’t center your shot unless there is a good reason for doing so. Look for clues in the environment such as symmetry or a need to emphasize strong emotion.

how to successfully center compose a photograph by Adele Humphries

Simplify the frame.  A busy frame can be visually confusing even when the subject is smack-dab in front and center, so clear out the clutter (either before taking the shot or in post-processing if you forget). Alternatively, consider simplifying the color palette by converting to black and white.

breaking the rule of thirds by Adele Humphries

center compositions and how to do them by Adele Humphries

Use leading lines. Perhaps the finest help to a great center composition are converging lines that lead the eye directly to your point of interest. Leading lines create a sense of movement in your frame and can add immense visual impact to the image. Make use of leading lines wherever you can to add drama to your shot

are center compositions bad in photography by Adele Humphries

do i have to follow the rule of thirds by Adele Humphries

how can a center composition work in photography by Adele Humphries

I hope these ideas and examples prove useful to you when you are thinking about mixing things up a little on your next shoot. Don’t be afraid to break the rules every now and then. Shoot center composition images with confidence, my friends!