Composition Guidelines
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Composition Guidelines



This is a PowerPoint that teaches Photography students how to use composition to take great photos.

This is a PowerPoint that teaches Photography students how to use composition to take great photos.



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Composition Guidelines Composition Guidelines Presentation Transcript

  • Composition Refresh
    • placement or arrangement of visual elements
    • organization of the elements of art according to the principles of design
    • biggest difference between a good photograph and a mediocre one is the composition
  • Eliminate Unimportant - Cropping
    If the main subject is too small, the photo will lack impact and the subject will become lost among the clutter.
    If you crop tight around the subject you eliminate the background 'noise', ensuring the subject gets the viewer's undivided attention.
  • Balancing Elements
    Using the Rule of Thirds, creates a more interesting photo, but can leave a void in the scene making it feel empty.
    Balance the 'weight' of your subject by including another object of lesser importance to fill the space.
  • Background
    Busy backgrounds often end is poor photographs. Your eye can distinguish between different elements, but a camera can flatten the foreground and background.
    Solution – look
    around for a plain
    and unobtrusive
    background and/or
    compose your shot
    so that it doesn't
    distract or detract
    from the subject.
  • Avoid Mergers
    Mergers are easy to spot, but hard to define. They occur due to poor framing. Examples – cutting feet off at the bottom, catching a half of a person standing in a crowd, or standing in front of a busy background where it looks like objects are sprouting from peoples heads.
  • Perspective or Viewpoint
    Viewpoint has a massive impact on composition and can greatly affect your message. Don’t just shoot from eye level, consider photographing from high above, down at ground level, from the side, from the back, from a long way away, from very close up...
  • Landscape or Portrait
    If you haven’t already, try turning the camera on it's side and shoot an upright picture.
    Consider and experiment with both formats to see what a difference it can make to the picture.
  • Framing, Edges, Frame within a Frame
    The world is full of frames – such as trees, archways and holes. By placing these around the edge of the composition you help to isolate the main subject from the outside world. The result is a more focused image which draws your eye naturally to the main point of interest.
  • Leading Lines
    Eye is naturally drawn along lines.
    Thinking about how you place lines in your composition affects the way we view the image - pulling us into the picture, towards the subject, or through the scene.
  • Diagonals
    Setting your subject matter on a diagonal will almost always make for a more dynamic picture. Even if this is an invisible diagonal that draws your eye between two points. Move around the subject and look for a diagonal.
  • Repetition & Pattern
    Fill your frame with a repetitive pattern to give the impression of size and large numbers. Zoom in close so the pattern fills the frame and breaks of the edges.
    Examples – faces in a
    crowd, bricks on a
    wall, a line of bicycle
    wheels all on the
    same angle etc.
  • Repetition & Pattern
    Breaking Patterns
    Interrupt the flow of a pattern by adding a contrasting object (color, shape, texture) or removing one of the repeating objects. Sometimes these broken patterns appear naturally or you can interrupt a pattern yourself.
    Pay attention to where
    in your frame to place
    the break in the pattern
    (think rule of thirds),
    and consider where
    your focus is.
  • Symmetry
    Can make very eye-catching compositions, especially in places where they are not expected. You can also try to break the symmetry in some way, introducing tension and a focal point to the scene.
  • Assignment:
    40 Image Contact Sheet plus 2 Best
    • At least 6 of the ideas presented here should be obvious in your contact sheet
    Monday, February 14th
    (Happy Valentine’s Day)