Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, the same goes for the composition of your photographs. There isn't an accurate way anyone should compose their photography. However, there are some industry standards and trips to help your photoshoot become successful.
To compose a photograph is to set the scene and arrange the elements within your shot.
You can choose which of these tips and tricks you want to use for the composition of your photographs.
Centered & Symmetry
Centering your subject can be something photographers might debate. Sometimes, centering the subject of your photo doesn't work. Then there are other times where it works very well. Often when you're shooting something symmetrical, centering your subject is the way to go.
Framing Your Photo
Another way to add interest and depth to your photo is by framing your subject. Framing will help give your subject a unique perspective and a clear focal point. Framing out an image can be used with architecture, nature, windows, or other similar elements.
Filling your Frame
Filling the frame is similar to framing your photo. This technique brings your subject as close as possible with very little space, if none, around it. This composition allows for the main focus on the subject without having your audience's eyes wander to anything else. An example of this can be a close-up portrait.
Geometric shapes like triangles and diagonals help add tension to a photo. Dynamic tension like this doesn't necessarily give your eye a focal point. Instead, it helps draw your eyes to multiple spots in the picture. Doing this helps break up the monotony.
Rule of Thirds
Remember when I said centering your subject is debatable? Well, it's because of the rule of thirds. To put it simply, this is when you divide the frame into nine rectangles, three across and three down. Most cameras have a setting that enables you to see this grid to help with composition.
When using the rule of thirds, avoid putting the subject in the center of the frame. Placing your subject in one of the other rectangles can provide for a more eye-catching photograph.
The Rule of Space
When thinking of the rule of space, think about the direction the subject in your photo is facing. An example would be a car that is driving. You should make sure there is more room in the front of the vehicle than behind it.
Foreground Interest and Depth
If you want to add depth to your photo, make sure to include foreground interest. Adding foreground interest also gives your photograph more character and helps it to stand out. It allows your image to seem more like real life.
Another common composition technique is called leading lines. Photographs showing this usually have streets, paths, rivers, railroads, and more. These lines lead your eye to a focal point in the photo. These lines don't even have to be straight. They can zig-zag or be curvy.
Texture & Patterns
The OCD in us all makes it easy to be attracted to patterns. Patterns are soothing to so many and also add stability. Patterns in a photo can be something like a series of bricks or flower petals.
Textures are also pleasing in the same way that patterns are. An example of this can be a wall with stucco paint or a close-up of a cheetah's fur coat.
This technique is the exact opposite of filling your frame. It suggests having plenty of negative space to help give a minimalistic aesthetic to your photos. Without any distraction, eyes will automatically go to the focal point.
Speaking of minimalism, this brings us to simplicity. Just like the phrase "less is more." Having less going on in your photo brings a calming sense of clarity. An example of this could be a close-up of a single large rock in a pond. One of the best types of lenses to use for this technique is a macro lens.
Switch up your Point of View
Sometimes getting a different photo is as simple as changing where you are standing. Getting low or standing on something to get a high view can create a whole new composition for your photo. Switching up your point of view is another way where you will need to get creative and get in awkward positions to find a new way to look at a subject. Using a drone can quickly help you achieve this composition technique.
Isolate the Subject
Isolating the subject is a composition technique where you blur the background to make your focal point pop. This technique needs a wide aperture. Creating this shallow depth of field is most often seen in portraits.
Color palettes and certain color combinations make things look more put together and compliment each other so well.
When you look at a color wheel, you can see how the colors are arranged. Typically the colors across from each other on the wheel are said to complement one another well. Think of colors like yellow and black or blue and red.
Balance Your Elements
Remember when we talked about the rule of thirds? Well, this goes hand in hand with that tip. When using the rule of thirds, our main subject is usually not in the center. If it isn't centered, then the photo can seem a bit "off." Try to balance everything out by adding other secondary subjects opposite of the main subject.
Juxtaposition is a creative technique for composition. It means having two things in your photo that contrast each other. An example of this could be a photograph of an elderly man next to an infant. A photograph like this would show complete opposites in age.
The Golden Ratio
The golden ratio is 1 to 1.618. So what exactly do those numbers even mean? The golden ratio is another technique similar to the rule of thirds. Instead of using the grid on your camera, you will use a phi grid. A phi grid is similar to a spiral, almost like a snail shell. You want the elements in your photo to flow in this manner. This technique is virtually a combination of the rule of thirds and leading lines.
We hope you found these guidelines helpful, and we encourage you to explore each of them in your future work. Remember that art is constantly evolving, and as an artist, it's essential for you to find what works best for the type of photos that resonate with your audience.