7 Essential Rules of Photography Composition

Good photography is all about story telling by presenting images that have a clear purpose and idea behind them. The only way to do this is to put some thought and effort into your composition, so it’s important to understand the basic concepts. These 7 rules of composition will quickly help you to elevate your photography beyond simple snapshots.

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is in many ways the most basic concept of photography composition and simply involves dividing the image into thirds both vertically and horizontally. You end up with a grid of 9 boxes, and it helps you to balance out your shots. Many beginners tend to place everything in the centre of the frame, but you get far better results from placing important elements along a vertical or horizontal line.

Achieving Balance

The rule of thirds helps immensely with achieving balance in your photography. But as much as pictures look better when things aren’t all clumped together in the middle, they also won’t look great with too much negative space. Including other elements that help to balance out the negative space will improve your compositions.

Use Leading Lines

Leading lines are the natural lines that help to draw the viewer’s eye and pull them into the picture towards a chosen point in your image. They can be made up of anything from a road to a bridge, but where you position them in the frame will shift the focus completely so pay them some attention before you press the shutter.

Be Aware of Patterns and Symmetry

Patterns and symmetry can be found absolutely everywhere in our surrounding environments and more often than not you don’t have to look too hard. You can use symmetry and patterns as a really powerful tool to create visually compelling images by making them the focus of your photography.

Framing Your Subject

We tend to naturally like to put things in neat little boxes and the same applies when it comes to photography. Using elements to create a border around a subject can help to highlight the subject and separate them from the rest of the world. Things like doorways, arches, and trees can all do this.

Utilize Cropping

Sometimes getting in close to the subject is the very best way to portray it, even if it involves leaving out some other interesting elements in the process. It can be a great way of really focussing on a specific point and cutting out any distractions. Just because your image doesn’t end up with the exact composition that you intended it to that doesn’t mean that it’s a lost cause, cropping can also be done at the editing stage to give your picture a tighter focal point.

Create a Focus

For beginner photographers it’s all too easy to see something that looks interesting and simply point and shoot without really determining what they intend to be the focus. But without a clear focus your images will lack impact, so it’s vital to determine beforehand exactly what you’re attempting to convey. Think about where you want the viewer’s eye to go, what story you’re trying to tell, and how you’re going to do it before pulling the trigger.

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