Obtaining the right balance between your subject and other aspects of the picture is extremely important. You don't want other parts of the photograph distracting from your subject. Things that you should pay attention to are color, contrast, size, and symmetry. Generally speaking, asymmetrical photographs are more appealing than symmetrical photographs. Placing your subject off-center usually has more of an impact and is more pleasing to the eye than having your subject smack dab in the middle, which brings us to the Rule of Thirds
Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a photographic composition technique that most if not all advanced photographers employ quite a bit. The basis of this rule is that a photograph is divided into 9 equal sized sections, with 2 lines vertically and 2 lines horizontally. The four intersections of these lines are a good guidepoint for where your subject should be centered. These points (and lines also) also work as guides for other aspects of the photograph, for example, a horizon may look better when lined up with one of the lines.
Also, when photographing people, a good use of the rule of thirds in many circumstances would be to line a person's body up with a vertical line, and line their eyes up with a horizontal line. This is likely one of the most important compositional techniques, as many photographers feel that a centered subject is not as interesting (in most situations). It is, however, recommended that you treat this 'rule' as more of a guideline though, as there are many circumstances where a more appealing photograph can be produced without the use of this rule. The rule of thirds goes all the way back to 1845, where it originated as a rule for composing scenic artwork.
|A good example of employing the use of the Rule of Thirds in a landscape photo.|