How Photography Drives the Viewer

By, Jacob Howell

Some people think that in order to get a good photo it is all by luck. However, there are many elements that help make the photo pleasing to the viewer. A few of these elements will be discussed in this post on how they make for a good photo. It will help explain these elements use in photography and why they are good rules to follow and not just being a lucky photographer snapping random shots.

Rule of Thirds

Photo by Phil Inglis


The rule of thirds aligns the subject with the guide lines and their intersection points. In this first photo of professional golfer Phil Mickelson, we see that his face and his glove are right along the intersecting line. The golf ball is also right along the other intersecting line. We often read from left to right and the most important subject, which is the golfer is on the left vertical line, then the ball follow along the right vertical line. It is also worthy to note that the text behind his is also aligned on the vertical line. This was most likely intentionally done by the photography to create a pleasing shot.

Photo taken by Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

This photo taken by myself also illustrates the rule of thirds. The golfer is right along the left vertical line. The line actually goes right down his lead leg. The golf ball follows along the the bottom horizontal line showing a prime example of the rule of thirds.

Leading Lines

By Brian Oar

A leading line paves the path for our eye to follow through a photo.  They start at the bottom of the frame and guide the eye upwards and inwards. The can also show depth. In this photograph, the photographer uses natural leading lines to guide the viewer down the fairway of the golf course. The green creates a natural leading line at the top left. The rocky crevices also create a natural leading line along with the green fairway leading the viewers eyes down the photo.

By Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

This other photograph taken by me is another prime example of leading lines. The pole or golf flag was put there purposely to create a leading line to the golfer preparing to putt. However, the shadows from a power line pole also create a natural leading line as well leading the viewer to the subject.

Depth of Field

By Dan Root

Depth of field helps provide focus on the main subject and makes it appear closer to the eye, thus providing depth. Depth of field provides the main subject with sharpness to enhance focus and draw the eyes to the subject and making it more pleasing to the eye. The photo taken above illustrates this very well. The arrows show how blurry the objects in the distance are, therefore making the golf cleat the main focus. It is clear and sharp, drawing the eye to it, instead of what is in the background.

By Jacob Howell (Personally Taken Photo)

Another photo taken by me demonstrates the focus of the main subject. The Nike ball and tee are completely in focus and in front of the image. All of the other images in the background are blurry and that bring the Nike golf ball and tee to the front, providing depth.



Though these rules can be broken, they are essential to know. They can be the difference between a bad and very good shot. They also are often the difference between a common shot and an attention grabbing one. The rules make the photo pleasing to the eye. I hope this post was able to demonstrate that in an effective way. There are many ways that the photographer could use these rules to their advantage. These rules are a skill and not luck.


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