As a photographer, having some knowledge of different compositions will help your photography. Although they’re known as “rules,” it’s important for you to know that they are also something you should not focus too much on. They are those breakable rules, and use them as guidelines to help improve your photos’ composition.
Getting to know its meaning, composition refers to how the various elements in a scene are arranged within the frame. Many of them have been used in art for thousands of years, and they really help achieve more attractive works.
Now, here are the most basic compositions and with some of the more advanced composition techniques to help you!
Rule of Thirds
This is the all-time classic composition technique. The Rule of Thirds divides your image with two horizontal and two vertical lines that intersect, which divides your image into nine boxes of equal size.
If you look at it, the lines will intersect at four points. Naturally, the viewer’s eyes are drawn to those points, so this composition tells you that you should place significant elements of the scene along with one of the lines or on one of the points.
The composition lets the viewer explore the photo themselves, which makes the photo much more interesting. The Rule of Thirds is an excellent starting point for grasping the idea of composition.
What we don’t know is triangles exist in almost everything we see in one way or another. You, as a photographer, should be able to distinguish and know what to do with them.
Incorporating triangles into a scene is a particularly good effective way of introducing dynamic tension. They subconsciously suggest instability. Moreover, they have a strong visual impact, too.
So how do you achieve such an effect? You don’t need to photograph literal triangles. All you need are three visual points that exist in a somewhat triangular formation. Your viewer’s imagination will connect the dot and tie all the elements of the photograph together. Here’s another tip: the imagined triangle may also extend out beyond the edges of your photo as well, so don’t worry if it’s not a complete triangle inside the frame.
By its name, this type of composition helps lead the viewer through the image and focus attention only on the important elements. They can vary from paths, walls, or patterns that can be used as leading lines. They can be straight, curved, or angular. A photograph may have one leading line or a bunch that converges on the subject from different angles.
When you try this technique out, remember where you want your viewer’s gaze to go, and keep recomposing the frame until the lines lead there.
Depth is a fundamental composition technique. It guides the viewer’s eye into the scene, making it come to life.
With this composition, it’s important to have a point-of-interest in the foreground, the middle ground, and the far distance. Remember that the key is that these three sections should have enough defined contrast to be easily distinguishable from one another.
As we all know, photographs are 2D by nature. Adding the point-of-interest in three different sections helps your photograph have a more 3D feel. To do this technique, vertical elements are an effective way of creating a sense of depth. You can also use a wider field of view. Place your subject far from your camera to generate a strong sense of depth.
This element in a photo affects how you feel when looking at it. An unbalanced picture can make us feel uneasy, and a balanced photo makes us feel more relaxed.
The first compositional guideline I shared with you is the Rule of Thirds, which meant placing the main subject of the photo to the side of the frame and one of the vertical grid lines. However, sometimes it can lead to a lack of balance in your photograph.
To avoid having this problem, you can compose your shot to include a secondary subject of lesser importance or size on the other side of the frame. This is what you call balance. The whole composition will be balanced without taking too much focus on the main subject of the photograph.
To achieve perfect composition and improve your skills as a photographer, to master different compositions is the way for you. I hope you take into practice what you’ve learned from here. It is designed to help you start consistently taking better photographs, no matter what subject you photograph.