I dare you to try this

Try keeping the most important thing out of the middle of the frame. I did last night while photographing a cyclocross race. You can see more photos at pdxcross.com ©Mike Davis/2010

The single most common shortcoming in photographers’ work is putting the primary emphasis in the center of the frame. That in itself is not the crime, it’s only an offense when what is outside of that middle realm isn’t critical to the composition or what you’re saying about whatever it is you photographed.

How do you know if you’re doing this. There are two tests: Can you crop many of your photos to verticals or squares and make them better, or at least not feel like you’re missing the part you cropped out and can you draw an oval in your pictures and what’s outside the oval isn’t important?

If either of these tests shows that you tend to make center-based images, then I dare you to try this: For one week prohibit yourself from placing the primary emphasis of your photographs in the middle of the frame.

Make that a double dare.

Serendipity, please

On contests and the passing of years