Using Elements of Composition to Focus our Viewer’s Attention


Plumeria on Step ThailandAs visual artists and photographers, we often try to focus or draw the viewer’s attention to certain areas or elements of our image. For example, in the above photograph, I have attempted to focus your attention on the Plumeria blossom in four ways:

  • The Rule of Thirds (click the link for a detailed explanation). The center of the blossom is at the intersection of the upper third horizontal line and the right hand third vertical line.
  • Clarity or focus. Our eye is naturally drawn to what is sharp and clear to us – to what we readily understand. The blossom is relatively sharp while the focus of the rest of the image is soft.
  • The value of light. When we look at an image our eye is drawn to the lighter, brighter values first.
  • Simplicity. Good photographs concentrate on a few basic elements. By highlighting only those components that add to your composition, you can focus the viewer’s attention precisely where you want it. Busy backgrounds are distracting.

While I do not claim this is a good photograph, I believe I was able to focus your attention where I wanted to by using a few basic elements of composition while making the image.

Check out Jake’s Sunday post to further focus your attention.