An award-winning portrait photographer leads a variety of photography classes including aperture, shutter speed, and white balance topics
About This Deal
- Intro to Photography Class (9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)
The Rule of Thirds: Squaring Away Visual Imbalance
When you study photographic composition, you’ll likely hear mention of the rule of thirds. Read on to get a head start.
When you first pick up a camera, you might naturally be tempted to take aim dead center at your subject. But pro photographers would advise that you first carve the visual field before you into nine equal parts, dividing it into thirds both vertically and horizontally. The intersections—or power points—of these lines should pinpoint the image’s action: a striking land formation, the corner of a smile, the beak of a bird feeding its babies pancakes. An off-center—but still balanced—focal point draws the eye across the image, introducing a sense of movement and dynamic tension. Major vertical or horizontal lines should follow this guiding grid as well, such that a horizon line will typically mark off the top third or bottom third of the image.
Why do images composed this way have immediate appeal? Mathematicians and artists have wondered for centuries. Some have theorized that it’s because it approximates the golden ratio, which reappears, mysteriously, throughout nature. The seeds in the center of a sunflower, the spirals on top of a cauliflower head, or even the proportions of the human body—they all boil down to a set of numbers known as the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number after 0 and 1 is generated by adding the two previous numbers. Divide each number by the preceding one and you’ll approach an irrational limit of approximately 1.618, the golden ratio.
Continually dividing a rectangle into a set of shrinking squares whose sides maintain this relationship to one another, you’ll begin to see a seashell-like Fibonacci spiral suggested by the corners of these boxes. Superimpose the rational, much more easily constructed rule-of-thirds grid over this graceful shape, and you’ll likely conclude that it’s a good-enough approximation, its lines just a little off from those of the larger Fibonacci squares. What this means is that even in this straightforward rule there’s some wiggle room—and after all, famous scrapbooker Ansel Adams once remarked, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
About Aperture Academy
We are dedicated, enthusiastic, professional photography instructors that are devoted to your experience. We passionately teach students who are equally passionate about improving their photography skills and are eager to take it to the next level.
For beginning students, our personalized style of instruction is designed and proven to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to create memorable photographs, not just “happy snaps.” We work with you to be sure you take photos you will claim proudly!
For intermediate level students, you will expand your thinking and skill sets, so your photographs reflect a fresh enthusiasm, life, and perspective, resulting in images that you only imagined before. Your images will no longer be “pictures” of things, but will tell full, rich stories.
For the advanced student, we will give you the support, supplementary skills, and fresh perspectives to create a professional portfolio filled with images of people, motion, macro, and objects that capture honest emotion, living moods and take conceptual ideas off the hook.
In seeing the needs of our student’s skill levels, the Aperture Academy strives to offer the most diverse learning environments possible suited to all ages and physical abilities. Our in-field workshops can include easy strolls along the beach or park trail, to the more extreme, hiking high mountain trails and crossing rivers. Our instructors are well acquainted with many of the most photographic locations throughout the western US and beyond, including areas not normally traveled by the average tourist.
Each year, the Aperture Academy conducts over 200 on-location photography workshops, online Photoshop and Lightroom classes, and can even design your own private workshop!
Group sizes average between 6-8 and we always provide one or more instructors to ensure plenty of one-on-one instruction, so every student gets the most out of their learning experience.