Photography Composition {The Rule of Space}

July 23, 2012

in Dana Suggs, Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

Photography Composition Tutorial {The Rule of Space} - I Heart Faces


This is the third in a series of Photo Composition Tutorials & Tips written by Dana Suggs for I Heart Faces this month.   Follow along with the rest of this Photography Composition Series here:

Rule of Space

(Also known as “Lead Room”) This rule gets confused a lot. Rule of Space is more a Rule of Illusion or Idea. It is creating an implied movement or action. It really has nothing to do with leaving space in your photo, as some would claim. That would fall under the Rule of Thirds which we covered in last week’s tutorial.

Let me explain better, the Rule of Space tells the viewer that the picture is much more than what they are seeing. They are only seeing a part of it.

Rule of Space - Photo Composition Tutorial via I Heart Faces

Take for instance, someone gazing off into the distance. By leaving space IN FRONT of the viewer, you are showing the audience that they are looking AT something. It implies there is more to the photo than what you are seeing.  They are inclined to follow their gaze and into the photo to see what it is they are looking at.

Rule of Space - Photo Composition Tutorial via I Heart Faces

 

If you photograph a child running in the photo, leave the space in front of the child, implying  that there is more to the image and that the child is running to something.  That bit of space in front of the child shows motion, it stimulates the brain into implying the next movement or motion, thus creating drama in your photo.  It reveals a place to travel to…..chasing  bubbles or adventures to be had for sweet little boys…..cold snowflakes falling.

Rule of Space - Photo Composition Tutorial via I Heart Faces

Rule of Space - Photo Composition Tutorial via I Heart Faces

Photo Composition Tutorial - Rule of Space

 

In the same regard, by leaving open space BEHIND the subject, it shows where they’ve traveled from, or draws attention to what is behind them.  Imagine leaving space behind a flying kite or the smoke of a jet engine, showing the distance it has traveled.  Or silly children running through the waves of the ocean.

Photo Composition Tutorial - Rule of Space

The Rule of Space shows where we’ve been and where we are going.  And that seems poetic, doesn’t it?

Photo Composition Tutorial - Rule of Space

Photo Composition Tutorial - Rule of Space

Be kind to others and ALWAYS keep learning!

 Dana Suggs is an on-location photographer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, specializing in Children and Senior photography. She loves to have fun and finds joy in everyday life. She’s been married for 20 years and is the mother of 3 natural-born children and proud foster-parent to 3 more. You can find her on her Photography website, Facebook Fanpage and, of course, she is a PROUD member of our Creative Team for I Heart Faces!

 

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

quantrim reviews May 12, 2013

I read this piece of writing fully on the topic of the comparison of most recent and preceding technologies,
it’s awesome article.

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Sasha Moretz August 3, 2012

These are beautiful photo composition. I have seen the photos of my little brother. He loves also photo composition so I can appreciate beautiful photos.

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Niki Bradley July 26, 2012

Thanks for the great article. I try to do this when I am taking photos as well as when I am designing ads or anything really for my clients. I rarely put this dead center! :)

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Rachel July 25, 2012

Gasp! Our own Itty Bit in the same tutorial with the Suggs beautiful children?!?! :)

The shoot was so much fun – and I treasure every single image from that day. I will never regret asking for that for my birthday – the memories of Mom are utterly priceless.

Thank you for the article – I love that you can tell so much more of a story with the rule of space!

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Becky Marie July 25, 2012

AWESOME article. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this.

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Leigh July 24, 2012

Good reminders – I always think of space for animals in photos but should apply it more to humans – especially photos with people looking up.

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Borja De Diego July 23, 2012

Photography Composition {The Rule of Space} http://t.co/z6uwp9HJ

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Declan Mc Glone July 23, 2012

Photography Composition {The Rule of Space} #photography http://t.co/wHgCji4k

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Dana Suggs July 23, 2012

Awwwwww…..thanks everyone for the kind words! I LOVE doing these tutorials!

Killian, I am hoping to bring awareness to the HUGE need for good foster parents here in the United States. That is the only reason I differentiate between the 2. In my home, they are all loved the same. 😀 I am excited to call them ALL my children in September when their adoption is finalized! YAY! I am proud to be a foster parent and hugely proud of my foster babies. It’s only to raise awareness. I wish more people would consider doing it. Our orphans are in critical need.

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Killian July 23, 2012

Great tutorial.

That said, it’s kind of sad that the artist feels the need to differentiate between “natural” children and foster or adoptive.

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Emily Santome July 23, 2012

Thank you for your helpful tutorial! It’s so nice to learn & understand how to get better shots that seem poetic { you described it perfectly }. I love your line “The Rule of Space shows where we’ve been and where we are going.  And that seems poetic, doesn’t it?”
so so true! Thanks again Dana!

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Kaitlin July 23, 2012

Very helpful thank you! I am in LOVE with the picture of the little girl capturing snowflakes on her tongue. They’re all great photos illustrating the rule of space.

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