RULE OF THIRDS• Imagine that your image is divided into 9equal segments by 2 vertical and 2horizontal lines.• The rule of thirds says that you shouldposition the most important elements inyour scene along these lines, or at thepoints where they intersect.• Doing so will add balance and interest toyour photo.• Some cameras even offer an option tosuperimpose a rule of thirds grid over thescreen.
BALANCING ELEMENTS• Placing your mainsubject off-centercreates a moreinteresting photo, but itcan leave a void in thescene which can makeit feel empty.• You should balance the“weight” of yoursubject by includinganother object of lesserimportance to fill thespace.
LEADING LINES• When we look at a photo our eyeis naturally drawn along lines.• By thinking about how you placelines in your composition, youcan affect the way we viewimage, pulling us into thepicture, towards the subject, oron a journey “through” thescene.• There are many different types ofline– straight, diagonal, curvy,zigzag, radial etc – and each canbe used to enhance our photo’scomposition.
SYMMETRY AND PATTERNS• We are surrounded by symmetry andpatterns, both natural and man-made.• They can make for very eye-catchingcompositions, particularly in situationswhere they are not expected.
VIEWPOINTBefore photographing you subject, take timeto think about where you will shoot it from.• Our viewpoint has a massive impact on thecomposition of our photo, as a result it cangreatly affect the message that the shotconveys.• Rather than just shooting from the eyelevel, consider photographing from highabove, down at the ground level, from theside, from the back, from a long way away,from very close up, and so on.
BACKGROUND• The subject might blend into a busybackground.• The human eye is excellent at distinguishingbetween different elements in a scene,whereas a camera has a tendency to flattenthe foreground and background, and thiscan often ruin an otherwise great photo.• Thankfully this problem is usually easy toovercome at the time of shooting – lookaround for a plain and unobtrusivebackground and compose your shot so thatit doesn’t distract or detract from thesubject.
DEPTH• Photos are two dimensional so we have to choose our compositioncarefully to convey the sense of depth that was present in the actualscene.• You can create depth in a photo by including objects in the foreground,middle ground and background.• Another useful composition technique is overlapping.• The human eye naturally recognizes these layers and mentallyseparates them out, creating an image with more depth.
FRAMING• The world is full of objects which makeperfect natural frames, such as trees,archways and holes.• By placing these around the edge of thecomposition you help to isolate the mainsubject from the outside world.• The result is a more focused image whichdraws your eye naturally to the main pointof interest.
CROPPING• Often a photo will lack impact because the mainsubject is so small it becomes lost among the clutterof its surroundings.• By cropping tight around the subject you eliminatethe background “noise”, ensuring the subject getsthe viewer’s undivided attention.
EXPERIMENTATION• With the dawn of the digital age in photography we no longer have toworry about film processing costs or running out of shots.• Experimenting with our photos’ composition has become a realpossibility; we can fire off tons of shots and delete the unwanted oneslater.• Take advantage of this fact and experiment with your composition – younever know whether an idea will work until you try it.
COMPOSITION RULES• Composition in photography is far from a science, and as a result all of the “rules”should be taken with a pinch of salt.• If they don’t work in your scene, ignore them; if you find a great composition thatcontradicts them, then go ahead and shoot it anyway.• But they can often prove to be spot on, and are worth at least considering whenever youare out and about with your camera.