By Novagrace Carganillo Learning Materials Posted 5 months ago 664 views


What viewers see in the photograph is entirely up to you as the photographer. You decide where to point your lens in addition to selecting your camera, camera settings, and when to press the shutter. Once you've decided on a camera to add to your arsenal, whether it's the low-light-friendly Sony Alpha a7S III, the lightning-fast Nikon D500, or the travel-ready Leica Q2, there are many ways to improve your photos, but putting a lot of thought into the composition is what helps turn an ordinary snapshot into a compelling work of art. This guide discusses photography composition techniques to help you improve your photos.

These photography composition "rules" will always be helpful, even after you've advanced to the level of a professional photographer. Check them out to see how they can assist you in taking your photography to the next level.


1. Simplification

Keeping things straightforward is the simplest method to have a clear and powerful composition. Keep the focus on a single issue rather than having too many things going on in the frame. Employ a shallow depth of field or get rid of everything that can detract from your main topic. The more time viewers have to appreciate your image and interpret its meaning, the faster they can identify the main point of your image.

Even in photography, always keep in mind that little is more.


2. Frame Filling

To improve your composition, get closer to your subject. This allows the viewer's attention to be drawn to your subject, such as a person's facial expression, and to details that may not be visible to the naked eye. As a bonus, it will assist you in removing distracting background elements and may even provide you with interesting abstract patterns.

Cropping your photograph in post-processing can also make it appear as though it was taken up close, but be aware that doing so increases the likelihood that the resolution of your image will be greatly reduced.


3. Vertical or Horizontal

Choosing whether to take a photo horizontally or vertically is one of your initial decisions. Although the camera's design invites us to hold it horizontally, the subject—not practicality—should dictate the position. Because verticals are highlighted in a vertical format, vertical subjects typically belong in a vertical frame. On the other hand, horizontal ones ought to be framed horizontally.

While horizontal is typically preferable for landscapes and cityscapes, verticals are equally good for portraits.


4. Rule of Thirds

If you've taken at least one photography class, you've most likely heard of the Rule of Thirds. This fundamental composition technique is based on the idea that off-centering your subjects produces a stronger, more natural-looking composition and allows you to make creative use of negative space. Following the Rule of Thirds also provides an excellent opportunity to photograph your subjects from various perspectives. This will eventually allow you to capture more distinctive images.


5. Framing

This form of compositional method, also known as sub-framing, entails employing or include frame elements to emphasis and draw the viewer's attention to your subject or to merely add interest to your image. It could be framed by man-made structures like windows and tunnels or by naturally occurring structures like rock formations. It doesn't matter what shape or form it takes, as long as it helps draw attention to your chosen subject, the image will undoubtedly be more aesthetically beautiful.


6. Color

Using color to produce great images and emphasize the meaning behind your photos is another simple photography composition approach. To make your subjects stand out, you can decide whether to use one or several strong, stunning colors. Alternatively, if you want soft, attractive images, choose pastel colors.

Complimentary hues are also excellent for producing a beautiful and well-balanced image, such as the blue and orange sunsets. If you want to get interesting effects, you might also wish to experiment with color temperatures. Alternately, you can use specific tones to elicit particular feelings, such as happiness with brilliant yellows and mystery with deeper tones.


7. Contrast

Contrast, as an essential form of color, works similarly to improve your composition, especially in monochromatic images. It can also be used to make your subject stand out—just surround it with lighter colors and fill the frame with them. Monochromatic images, such as sepia and black-and-white, rely on contrast to reveal details and textures.

When it comes to tonal contrast, darker areas tend to be "heavier" on the eyes. So, to counteract this, add larger, lighter areas.


8. Shapes and leading lines

Lines and shapes are also important elements of art that our eyes are naturally drawn to. Use leading lines to your advantage by allowing them to alter your audience's perception of your image. Lines have a natural way of drawing the viewer's attention, making them the ideal element for drawing attention to your desired focal points.

Roads, bridges, and even corridors are excellent for demonstrating linear perspective. They have lines that narrow towards the far end, potentially leading the eye to your main subjects (such as buildings, the sky, or even a person standing by the door).

Your photos usually look better with triangles and diamonds in them. Don't be afraid to shift and adjust your frame's angle in order to discover and expose those interesting shapes.


9. Symmetrical Balance

Symmetry is a well-known compositional technique for achieving visual balance in your photographs. We unconsciously seek symmetry in everything. A photograph with nearly perfectly balanced elements is usually a very appealing image.


10. Asymmetrical Balance

Even a photograph that appears to be optically out of balance might be attractive if done correctly. Despite the fact that we enjoy looking at symmetrical objects, there is something unnerving and fascinating about an image that doesn't appear to "follow the rules". Although much more challenging to master, this informal balance technique improves with repetition.

Include two different or contrasting subjects or elements to achieve asymmetrical balance. Then, off-center them (following the Rule of Thirds). They can be anything — two different objects, two different versions of the same object that differ in size or color, uneven but balanced amounts of light and dark tones, or two distinct concepts.


11. Foreground Interest, Depth and Layering

To add depth to an image, layering involves including other elements at varying distances from the camera. This allows the viewer's eye to be led through the image and bounce from one element to another (similar to leading lines). When your image has at least three dominant layers — foreground, middle, and background — the effect becomes more visually appealing.

Layering can be done in post-processing by editing your foreground in as naturally as possible. Just be mindful of maintaining the overall balance of the image and ensuring that you have a distinct subject that your viewers can easily identify.

As important as knowing how to follow and execute each composition technique is listening to your creative instincts, which will occasionally tell you to break all the rules.


12. Unusual Viewpoint

Kneel down, roll over, climb a ladder, or hang from the ceiling. If we can present the majority of photographs from an unexpected point of view, they look so much better.

Even while we might appear odd when taking photos from our strange points of view, the pictures typically turn out better, and most people wouldn't guess that you were scraping your knees while taking the picture.