THE RULE OF “ODDS” IN PHOTOGRAPHY:

To get great composition, there are several rules to follow. This rule of “ODDS” makes sense and your composition will be much better.

WHAT IS THE RULE OF “ODD’S”?

The rule of odds states that, whenever possible, a composition should have an odd number of objects, not an even number of objects. So an image should have three flowers rather than two, and five people rather than four.

The rule of odds states that, whenever possible, a composition should have an odd number of objects, not an even number of objects. So an image should have three flowers rather than two, and five people rather than four.

Why?

The rule of odds taps into the brain’s propensity to create order.

You see, when viewing a group of objects, we unconsciously want to group them in pairs.

But when we’re faced with three, five, or seven objects in a photograph…

…we have a group that can’t be easily organized.

With an odd number of objects, one may become dominant. At the very least, the viewer will look longer at the image, moving between the individual elements.

That is the power of the rule of odds in photography.

It creates a composition that makes the viewer’s brain work a little harder and look a little longer.

Three, five, or seven objects can work well.

Once you move beyond these single-digit numbers, we tend to treat all of the objects as a group – even if they’re odd.

Any odd number will work. Here are 5 daisies, and it just makes the photo work better.

Like the photo above, flowers can make great subjects for tapping into the rule of odds. If you are arranging the flowers in the scene yourself, think about using a group of three or five rather than an even number.

three flowers together
This was a matter of framing the shot to include just these three flowers.

THE RULE OF “ODDS” FOR OTHER SUBJECTS:

When you are out in the landscapes of the world, it is probably not the place to try to do the rule of Odds, as you are working on taking photos of the scenery, and there is not anything with odd numbers in a scenery photo. However, one thing you could do while out in the landscapes, is look for things that are in odd numbers, like we see below:

While out taking scenery photos, look for opportunities to use the rule of odds.

Now when you are out taking photos, and you are looking for opportunities to use the “Rule of odds”, there is going to be obvious times when you just can’t apply this rule.

If you’re taking a photo of Mount Rushmore. Who are you going to leave out to adhere to the rule of odds? You just can’t do it. If you are taking pictures of people, you can’t always do it if there’s an even number of people.

THE ODD “ONE”:

Now, we realize that one is an odd number too, but, in this case, it is best to use one as maybe the “odd one out”. This can be very powerful.

Simply seek out scenes and compositions where something in the image is odd, different, out of place, or doesn’t match.

They engage the mind of your viewer, drawing attention to the odd object and making your viewer look a little longer at your photo.

The rule of odds in photography - one dark tree in front of lighter rows of trees
In this photo, the single different tree makes this a powerful photo.
The rule of odds in photography - one pink flower surrounded by yellow flowers
Another great one using the rule: THE ODD ONE.

CONCLUSION:

The odd one is one powerful tool in creating well composed photos. Look for opportunities to use odd numbers, and even if there is only one, make it more of the “Odd one” amongst other subjects.

Some of the photos, and text are compliments of Rich Ohnsman – and was posted on Digital Photography School

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