3 Tips for Middle Line Photography Composition

Some photographers, especially those who have been in the field just for a few years, have been hard-coded to follow the rule of thirds. They totally refrain from composing with the subject in the middle of the frame. But in fact, composing with the subject on the middle line is pretty powerful if you do it correctly. Light Club explains:

1. Place Key Elements in the Middle

When we have a look at the works of master painters like Caravaggio, we can notice that he centered key elements vertically or horizontally. So the first tip is to emphasize the important elements by placing them in the middle.

image with dominant element in middle

2. Center the Dominant Eye

Another classic style used by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci while painting the Mona Lisa is to center the dominant eye (the eye that is closer to the viewer). This also creates an illusion that the subject’s gaze follows the viewer around the room. Another iconic image of the Afghan girl by Steve McCurry is an example that follows this principle.

mona lisa with center eye composition

3. Look for a Physical Middle Line

By composing with an actual physical middle line, you can illustrate difference or contrast. For instance, the horizon can be a middle line to differentiate the land and sky, and a bank can be a middle line between the land and the water. This same principle can be used in cinema as well. Placing two characters on either side of a physical middle line illustrates their difference in moods, character, and emotion.

bank as the physical middle line

The next time you’re at a museum, pay attention to how artists utilize these techniques to create magical compositions.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever