Rule Of Odds


Another theory of composition was analysed, this time ‘The Rule Of Odds.’ I had to capture two images that represented this rule, focusing on the placements of objects within the frame.

From my understanding, the rule of odds is the theory that odd numbers appear more appealing to the eye, especially when they are used to balance the image. For example, if three objects were presented, two on either side of one would produce a sense of balance.


Figure 1


For this image I used my basic studio setup at home, however, one of the desk lamp bulbs had popped which meant one side of the image would not be exposed enough. I then placed a light from my phone to light the darker side, which I found successful for a very simple setup.

A slow shutter speed was used to allow more light to enter the lens to compensate for the low lighting conditions. A small aperture was also used to make more of the image sharp, but still wide enough to make a shallow depth of field so that the background blurred. A tripod was used to stop camera shake, especially when using the slow shutter. This experience has helped me to develop my skills in low lighting conditions and using constant light to my advantage.

The black blind and black table created an affected dark background with the added reflection from the glass table which I think improved the overall effectiveness of the picture. I turned the rest of the lights off in the room so that I could control the effects from the desk lamp and phone light better. I found the improvisation of a cost efficient home set up a useful skill to learn and a fun challenge to try to create a professional appearing studio from basic setups that would not typically be expected.

Emotional Response

Returning to this situation has enabled me to reflect on how I work in an environment where I have to improvise with minimum equipment. I have found that I enjoy the challenge and problem-solving. I find it satisfying to figure out a solution instead of everything supplied to me. I think that by creating a challenge it allows me to learn faster and easier as I have a practical problem, instead of reading about how to use studio lights or camera settings. I learn much better and quicker from experience, making this reflection beneficial because I can now understand better ways to learn by practicing in my own time.

At the time I got overwhelmed by the setup, taking my attention away from everything that was shown in the frame and the rule itself, which resulted in subverting the rule of odds by creating an even number of objects from the reflection. I need to become more focused on the end goal and check my work. This can be improved by listing what conforms to the rule and what will make it subvert. 

From this task and reflection, I also realised that I must not be worried about asking questions and seeking advice. By asking questions I will have a better understanding and be able to improve my work. This will be improved by ensuring that I ask questions on anything that I am unsure about and take in more critical advice that will help develop my skills and improve work.


I found the experience of using a custom set up a positive. It meant that I could experiment with the camera in conditions that I find more difficult. I did not find it too challenging to find the best settings. Instead, it was good to be able to take my time to try different settings and experiment with the lighting. If I was working on a time frame then this could have become negative. I would have felt more rushed and stressed to get the setup correct quickly. This would have most likely resulted in mistakes and incorrect lighting. The studio with flash would have then been a better process to use.

A negative with this setup was the lights. The colour of the lamp and phone were different, producing white and orange shades from either side.The image, fortunately, does not show the different lighting colours much, but this would be improved if I had used the same lights. In the future, I could book out the studio to ensure that the lights emit the same colour and for a better-controlled environment. This will mean I need to improve my organisation skills to plan when to use the studio and using the time sufficiently to do as many projects in the two-hour slot as possible before the deadlines.


If I had used the studio at university I could have had a faster shutter with the same aperture through the use of flash. This would have minimised the chance of blurred images and made the process easier and faster. This would mean that I would have to book the studio out in advance, which would take organisation and planning. These are skills I will focus on to improve my work and the way it is conducted.

The subjects composed in the frame were important as this was what made the image fit into the rule of odds. My aim was to show three objects evenly across the frame. This was a simple idea, but I knew it met the criteria and could still be effective. At the time I thought that my goal was achieved and that it matched the rule. However, during the time of presenting the image to the lecturer, he asked if my intention was to subvert the rule instead of conforming to it. At this time I was confused to why he thought it was subverting but did not make this obvious to him. Instead, I did not ask why he thought it did not match the rule, however, in reflection, I now know this was a mistake. If I was unclear or unsure I should have asked, even if it meant that my work would be wrong.

I was concerned that I would lose more marks by questioning him because I thought it would make it appear that I did not understand the criteria. I have now come to realise that this image unintentionally subverted the rule. My idea of how the image met the rule was correct but the way I composed it was incorrect. I did not view the reflection as objects, but now I understand that they count and have made six objects instead of the intended three. This then has made the image present an even number, but the rule is to show odd numbers. From this, I have learned that I must plan more thoroughly and analyse my work before submitting to check for mistakes.


Figure 2


Figure 2 presents my second submission for this task. I used an image from a photo shoot that I undertook in a studio using flash. I set the aperture to f8, which blurred the background but kept the children sharp. The ISO was set to 100 for minimum noise and the shutter was 1/80 which froze movement.

Emotional Response

This was my first studio photo shoot, therefore I was nervous but also excited. I had collaborated with another student in my class which made the process feel more comfortable and less daunting. I found that during the time of taking the image I was enjoying the control over the lighting and found flash to be easy and beneficial to use.

I feel that I need to have more practice with the studio equipment to feel completely comfortable. However, I was still able to use the equipment appropriately and enjoyed the control of the studio to create my own images. I found it strange to instruct children where to go and how to stand. I found it better to let them create their own poses but for this shot, I already had an idea in mind for the assignment, therefore had to place them in particular positions. I was not comfortable with telling them what to do and felt that I did not have much control or confidence over the situation. I have only dealt with older models, making this a new experience that I was not sure how to handle. I was worried that I would sound too assertive to them and did not want to make them feel uncomfortable.

Looking back I should have felt more confident with what I was doing. This can be improved upon by practicing with more models of different ages to get used to communicating with them. I can also watch other photographers taking portraits to understand how they talk to the model in a way that has control over the situation but also makes them feel comfortable.


Looking back on the image I now know that I have to practice with the lighting arrangements. A negative was that the background was meant to be white but instead, it appears gray with creases and shadows. I am satisfied with how the light hits the children but think that more light needed to be directed at the backdrop to correct the issue. This could have been prevented if I had looked back at my images in more detail when taking the photos. I find it difficult to notice problems like this on the small LCD screen, but after I have taken a range of images,  I could import them onto my laptop and quickly review pictures. This would allow me to find any mistakes or areas that I am not happy with before the end of the session,

A positive from the experience was being able to gain more studio experience. With further practice, I will be improving my communication skills and technical understanding of the studio setup. I was able to discover that I enjoy using the studio and would like to continue using this for future portraits and other types of photography, such as still life. With the full control of a studio, I think that it enables more creative thinking.


I positioned the children on either side of the frame with similar props to create a symmetrical looking image. At the time I thought that this would meet the rule of odds, but now I have come to realise that I became confused with what the rule meant. I first understood the rule but then became focused on creating symmetry that I forgot one of the concepts was to use odd numbers in the picture. I then used two models to create symmetry but unfortunately did not portray the rule of odds in the image. I submitted this unaware of the misunderstanding that I had made and only in reflection after the assignment I understand where I got confused.

In order to make sure that this mistake does not happen again I must ensure that I fully understand the brief and do not get carried away with the practical. I should have looked at the theory again before the shoot to make sure that my plan achieved the correct outcome for the criteria. Although I am disappointed in the final result and the way I dealt with this assignment I can use the negatives to my advantage. I now know that I rush into the project and am too eager to create the final piece. This results in mistakes made that affects the final work. I will take more time in research and planning, with regular reviews of my ideas and compare it to what the criteria expect. I will stop to review my work during the production and focus on what the final goal is and how I am achieving it.


The purpose of this task was to capture two images that represented the rule of odds. Unfortunately, this was not achieved due to mistakes and misunderstandings. The first image had the correct concept but the final picture did not meet the rule. I understood what made the image conform to the rule during the planning but when it came to creating the picture I think I became too distracted with everything else and took my attention away from the rule itself. I thought of the image quality more than the criteria which resulted in the creation of an image that did not meet the standards it should have. Looking back I wish that I paid more attention to how the elements in the image would make it conform or subvert the rule and not get carried away with the production itself. 

From this, I have learned that I need to take my time wth planning and reviewing my work. I should not rush and need to structure my work in an organised manner so that fewer mistakes are made. I am now able to improve from this issue and make sure that I can avoid this in future projects. 

 I think the second image was a poorer outcome than the first. This is because the first image had the right intentions but the second image did not meet the criteria in any way. I think that my idea of the rules concept got lost, resulting in the wrong idea to what the theory behind the rule is. I got confused and created an image that did not portray the rule of odds, but the opposite instead. I regret not researching more into the theory and ensuring the I was completely clear on the meaning of the rule. To make sure this will not occur again I will conduct thorough research before creating the final piece of work and if I am unsure I will seek answers, either by asking anyone with reliable advice, such as lecturers or researching myself to find the answers. I will not get carried away and take my attention away from important aspects of the work. This will be improved by focusing on what the primary targets for the final outcome are and making sure that I check my work and the criteria. 

I am disappointed with my final outcomes and the mistakes that I made but now understand what went wrong and will use this as a valuable learning experience. From reflecting, I can now understand what needs to be improved and what areas to focus on in order to produce high-quality work that meets the criteria set. 


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