A Lesson In Photography: Subject/Frame Parallelism

Post by Maxime Rousseau

I've received my D40 just a while back, so I still consider myself a photography noob, but in the ~300 pics that I have taken so far, I've notice some aspects of photography that I'd read about on the internet really have a huge impacts on my shots. One of those silly yet very important aspect is the parallelism between the subject of it's surroundings and the edges of the picture.

I'm guessing that it's because of my cast, but some of my pictures taken in a skate park photo shoot earlier this week are slightly out of axis, as a result of holding my camera slightly angled clockwise. As a result, some of the shots look like this one.

I really think this shot is pretty cool, but what bugs me is that the lip of the ramp, on which the rider's rear wheel is lying, is not parallel to the bottom of the picture. Being out of axis, it give me the impression that the picture was taken on crooked terrain, and I don't exactly know how to express myself on this, but it's like there is no reference to what is the X axis and what is Y. I think it just looks funky.

Now I'm not saying that you must always align the edges of your photo with something in your picture, I've seen many good pictures using creative shooting angles, but you can't do things halfway. You're either using an extreme angle, or either you're aligning it correctly. It's kind of like wearing a cap: in some cases, wearing it sides may make you look cool, but wearing it only slightly out of angle will only make you look retarded. Interesting simile, eh?

Now take a look at this picture now.

Baseball Kid - ISO 200, F8 @ 1/400, 50mm

In this picture, the right fence posts is directly perpendicular to X, and parallel to Y, and cutting through it at a 90 degrees angle is the white line, right in front of the kid. It gives the picture a structure, makes it more coherent according to me.

This isn't much, but I'm still learning... More pics, thoughts and tuts coming soon.