Bullseye Compositions: You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson
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Bullseye Compositions: You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson

August 27, 2019


How many of us out there are guilty of doing compositions with that bullseye effect? I know when I started in photography that’s exactly what I did. Almost every single time and more often than not I was somewhat perplexed as to why that happened because I would swear when I was making the actual composition in the camera looking through there like say; no way was that a bull’s eye effect! Well the fact is your composition doesn’t lie and as a result there’s the bullseye effect, you’re trying to avoid. Bull’s eye effect is simply caused by your inattention to not utilizing the suggestion of thirds, suggestion of thirds Greek mean rule of thirds. As you can see on the screen it’s a simple diagram, that if you follow it somewhat religiously I guarantee you a lot more compositional success than not. Nonetheless the bullseye effect is dead centering of your subject and as a result it’s boring, it’s static it has no balance, no tension. How do you solve the problem? More often than not, again as I mentioned, utilizing the grid of the suggestion of thirds, moving the subject off centered to left or right. Let’s look at some examples. Here as you can clearly see, I’m out here, there was a whole bunch of wildflowers, I’m in Washington State and I’m in an area where they’ve done a lot of logging and this is the result of the logging, meaning once the trees are gone, it gives an opportunity for the flowers to come up with all that light that they now have. So with that in mind 18-300mm Nikkor lens, I’m going to be at the telephoto range. I’m going to pick a flower right off the brunch here, these are, that’s not long enough of a stem and right there. Now the minute I do an aperture at wide open in this case f/5.6 focal length is about 1/30 of a second I’m going to use, that background is out of focus color. Let’s pick something from down here and that’s quick f/6.3 here’s your bull’s eye right there okay take a look at that photograph. That’s a bull’s eye effect, too centered now if we take that same photograph and move it just off-center it a bit now look what happens when I off-center that, look at those two images side-by-side. You can’t argue the point bulls eye effect is boring and static, where if we just move it off to the right, in this case we end up with an image that’s far more compelling. Avoid the bullseye. Call upon the suggestion of thirds and you will soon be on your way to photographic compositional success. Hey until next time this is Bryan Peterson reminding all of you, You Keep Shooting.

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  1. While I agree that the off-center subject is more pleasing, it was also made more interesting by tilting the flower toward the camera and by the out-of-focus splash of purple at the opposite intersection point.

  2. As always Bryan hits the nail squarely on the head. This type of short, sharp video makes a far greater impact on photographers mindset than much lengthier ones!
    Thanks for all your great tutorials over the years. Merry Christmas.

  3. Very poor comparison, shoot a stationary object and use a tripod and keep object in same horizontal plane, don't shoot 1 from the side and other from top; other than that, good video

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