Have you ever thought about where your eyes go when you look at a photograph? Do you look directly at the center first or go for a circuitous route?
I pay a lot of attention to where my eyes go when I am setting up for a shot on photography sessions within Spokane. More so since starting the process of entering print competitions.
Recently, going through my Instagram page, I noticed that so many of my images apply the concept of the “visual center”. It is something I naturally do despite taking advantage of Photoshop’s various configurations for the Rule of Thirds crop tool. That is the pattern that my eyes habitually conform to. In fact, my eyes must be right handed because I set up my subjects to the right an awful lot. “Oh bother”, as Winnie the Pooh would say. Yes, it bothers me.
Naturally, I am working on creating images that are free from chronic uniformity, but, I can see that I’ve been spot on with the rule of thirds and obsessed with the visual center. I will show exactly what I mean with some images from a recent session.
The visual center is a less discussed term in creative circles. It fully belongs within the Rule of Thirds but it clarifies what our eyes do when we look at a photo, a painting, or the focus wall of an interior. The Rule of Thirds says that we should divide our photos into 3 parts horizontally and vertically. We place our subjects within those thirds.
However, the human eye constantly seeks the visual center, not the actual center. The visual center is a bit to the right and above the actual center.
I use the Golden Rule more than the Rule of Thirds when cropping my images to the most pleasing aspect. However, I am still utilizing the visual center. I make sure that the far right eye meets that center.
I learned all about the focal points, Rule of Thirds, and visual centers in interior design school but hadn’t realized I’d been automatically applying the principle to my photography. And, even my digital paintings.
While it is perfectly okay to have your subject in the actual center of an image, it should still be one part of a third.