Photo of the Day

A close up of an African spurred tortoise
September 5, 2011

African Spurred Tortoise

This Month in Photo of the Day: Your Photos With Tips From Photographer Catherine Karnow

I have heard that there is a rule in photography never to place your main subject dead center. But in my opinion there are no rules of composition in photography; composition should fit the subject matter. The impact of this photograph is the tortoise's remarkable face. Also, by putting him right in the middle, we can admire both his symmetry, and his asymmetry: The crooked line of his mouth is what gives him character.

The giant size of the creature is implied by filling fully half of the top half of the frame with the shell. Because the focus is sharp on the face and slightly out of focus on the shell, the eye is drawn right to the middle, to the sharpness of the eyes and the texture of the face.

Photo Tip: Let the subject matter dictate the composition; sometimes dead center is the right choice.

Get more tips on breaking the rules of photography »

Photograph by Glenn Nagel, My Shot
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