Rule of Odds


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Rule of Odds

Alright, here's a new one for my classes that I haven't talked about before, it's one that has been talked about because when I do talk about composition I do my research and I go out and see what other people say about composition, and this is one that I don't agree with, but I will tell you about it anyway. It's just good to be aware of, I think there are some things to talk about and think about when it comes down to the Rule of Odds, and this states that images are just better when you have an odd number of subjects in there. Let's explore how this may or may not work. If you have a solitary subject, I think that can make for a really strong photograph because it's very clear what your subject is, what's going on, and you get a good, nice close-up view of that subject. So for people, for animals, this works out really well. The next step is if you can't have one then you have three. Little secret note here, three is my favorite number, I love three, three is a great number. It's a ...

nice, small grouping that you can easily understand. It's not too big of group, you're not wondering how many, you just immediately pick it up and it's a small little group that we can all identify with, so I think images with three subjects are very strong, and so as far as the Rule of Odds goes, yes, I completely agree that three subjects in a frame can be very interesting and there's a lot of fun that you can have with three subjects in a frame, cuz there's a lot of ways that you can line them up and play with them. We saw, I think this one in one of the quizzes before, and so three subjects, ya, that's a nice playful number that can do a lot of things with it. Maybe my favorite shot with three subjects in it right there, alright, three's just a great way, there's a lot of things that you can do with it. I'm all for three, I love three, that's good, I really do. What about this? I took this early in the morning, and I like this shot, and I think a lot of people I've showed it to have really liked that shot, it's kinda a cute shot, and perfect as a test example here, a scientific test example. Now I did not have to Photoshop this. One of the cubs got up and left. So tell me, is this a better photograph than the one with four in it? If the Rule of Odds was true, three is better than four, then it should be better, but that big empty spot just seems to me a whole lot better when it's filled with four there, and so I don't believe any particular number is better than another number, but there are things that are different about versus two. When you have two you'll have a relationship potentially between the two. People will be lookin at one, lookin at the other. Are these friendly, are they not friendly together? Mom and cub, there's a nice relationship that's goin on. Have you ever seen penguins hold hands before? (class laughs) Alright, so there's a nice thing about two. Would this be better with a third one? I'm sorry, I think three would be a crowd in this couple here. (class laughs) I think two works perfectly good. I think two is a great number to have in a shot, so there's lots of examples where having two works really well in a shot, so that's why I don't believe in the Rule of Odds. I think one's good, I think two's good, I think three's good, I think four can be good. There's lots of different examples, but there is a different type of thing that's goin on when you have one to two. Are you bein fair to the two? Can you have four and have it be good? Absolutely, it's still a reasonable number. With four you can have symmetry, so there's that you can work with, so that's a good element that you can add in to having four. It's still a small enough group that you can easily keep track of what's going on. Now what about five? You can have five as well. Five gets to be a little bit more, six gets to be a bit more. At a certain point you start losing count, but one, two, three, four, five, and then it starts just becoming a larger group depending on how long you're studying that particular subject there, and then it just starts becoming a pattern unto itself, so each number has its' own little benefit, but I'm sorry, I'm not buying into the three is better than four, or three is better than two. They each have their own good thing, and I think you'll find that whatever works just works for other reasons, there's other things going on that's compelling that photograph to be better. You can shoot that tight shot and get that single animal. You can have two shots and have that nice relationship, or you can start having a very easily used small group or a larger group, or as large of group as you wanna have and it really doesn't matter in some cases. It's gonna be a good shot if it's a good shot for other reasons.

Class Description

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


1Class Introduction
2Photographic Characteristics
3Camera Types
4Viewing System
5Lens System
6Shutter System
7Shutter Speed Basics
8Shutter Speed Effects
9Camera & Lens Stabilization
10Quiz: Shutter Speeds
11Camera Settings Overview
12Drive Mode & Buffer
13Camera Settings - Details
14Sensor Size: Basics
15Sensor Sizes: Compared
16The Sensor - Pixels
17Sensor Size - ISO
18Focal Length
19Angle of View
20Practicing Angle of View
21Quiz: Focal Length
22Fisheye Lens
23Tilt & Shift Lens
24Subject Zone
25Lens Speed
27Depth of Field (DOF)
28Quiz: Apertures
29Lens Quality
30Light Meter Basics
32Quiz: Histogram
33Dynamic Range
34Exposure Modes
35Sunny 16 Rule
36Exposure Bracketing
37Exposure Values
38Quiz: Exposure
39Focusing Basics
40Auto Focus (AF)
41Focus Points
42Focus Tracking
43Focusing Q&A
44Manual Focus
45Digital Focus Assistance
46Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)
47Quiz: Depth of Field
48DOF Preview & Focusing Screens
49Lens Sharpness
50Camera Movement
51Advanced Techniques
52Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance
53Auto Focus Calibration
54Focus Stacking
55Quiz: Focus Problems
56Camera Accessories
57Lens Accessories
58Lens Adaptors & Cleaning
60Flash & Lighting
63Being a Photographer
64Natural Light: Direct Sunlight
65Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight
66Natural Light: Mixed
67Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light
68Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light
69Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light
70Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light
71Quiz: Lighting
72Light Management
73Flash Fundamentals
75Built-In & Add-On Flash
76Off-Camera Flash
77Off-Camera Flash For Portraits
78Advanced Flash Techniques
79Editing Assessments & Goals
80Editing Set-Up
81Importing Images
82Organizing Your Images
83Culling Images
84Categories of Development
85Adjusting Exposure
86Remove Distractions
87Cropping Your Images
88Composition Basics
89Point of View
90Angle of View
91Subject Placement
92Framing Your Shot
93Foreground & Background & Scale
94Rule of Odds
95Bad Composition
96Multi-Shot Techniques
97Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction
98Human Vision vs The Camera
99Visual Perception
100Quiz: Visual Balance
101Visual Drama
102Elements of Design
103Texture & Negative Space
104Black & White & Color
105The Photographic Process
106Working the Shot
107What Makes a Great Photograph?