Photographic composition is probably the most important of all Photography concepts. Without composition there is just chaos!
Let us consider an example to see why composition is important.
Imagine you enter a meeting or conference room in your office or college. What is the first thing that goes to your mind?
Where to sit…right?
What if table is in the corner and the chairs are lying haphazardly? What do you do?
Do you just go and sit wherever you can and start the meeting? Probably not!
First thing which occurs to your mind is to arrange the table and chairs properly! Agree?
Why is that? Why do you want to arrange it properly?
Yes…it is the arrangement (or organization) which is embedded in our mind from ages that we stick to that. Otherwise we feel uneasy!
Photography Composition is no different!
“It is just a process of organizing this otherwise chaos world around us to make some meaningful photograph”
Photography Composition Technique #1: Rule of Thirds
It is a very simple but powerful composition technique in Photography. It simply states that place the main subject of interest on any of the 4 intersection points formed by dividing an image into 9 equal parts!
It is a way of avoiding the placement of subjects in the dead center which is bit natural to us. Centered composition is said to be static and uninteresting, though at times it might be the best composition.
By placing the subject on one of the 4 intersection points, you can create the visual tension or dynamic composition in the photograph there by creating the visual interest.
Read more on The Rule of Thirds
Photography Composition Technique #2: Leading Lines
Leading lines is another simple but natural photography composition technique. Our eyes naturally follow lines; they tend to move from one point to the other point following the path.
Lines are everywhere in the nature; some are apparent and some are not. Common leading lines in nature are:
- Roads, Train tracks, Railings, Fence
- Bridges, Corridors
- Coast lines, Pebbles on the beach, Waterfalls, Streams
- Receding patterns like trees, Rocks, Light poles
And the list goes on…
Read how to create depth using Leading Lines Composition Technique
Photography Composition Technique #3: Symmetry
If a photograph is composed in such a way that it can be divided into two equal parts then it is said to be Symmetrical.
Symmetrical composition is balanced and gives a sense of soothing to the eyes and mind of the viewer.
There are several examples in the nature that yield symmetrical compositions, like:
- A Divider in the Road
- Railway Tracks
- Pillars, Lamps, Trees on either side of the Road, etc
A symmetrical composition can be made more appealing if there is a strong focal point. The focal point keeps the visual interest in the photograph.
Photography Composition Technique #4: Pattern
Patterns are very interesting and important composition elements in Photography. If used properly, they can yield excellent results.
Patterns are found all over the places. There are many things in the nature which yield to a pattern, like:
- Trees, Lamp posts, Windows
- Grasslands, Flower garden, Tulip gardens
- Spirals in the leaves, Waves, Meanders, Cracks, etc
The photographs are generally appealing when the patterns repeat in a predictable form. So, care should be taken to pick only the pattern that is easily recognizable by the viewer.
Sometimes, breaking this pattern either with a strong focal point or a strong line makes photographs more compelling.
Photography Composition Technique #5: Framing
Framing can be a powerful composition technique if used properly.
The idea is to frame the main subject of interest using complementing secondary subject. But why do we frame it?
We use frames to keep the eye of the viewer focused on the main subject of interest! In addition it will help to create depth in the scene by acting as a foreground element which overlaps with the middle and background.
But care should be taken to use the framing technique properly. Meaning, it is a good idea to frame a beautiful meadows using a tree in the foreground whereas it will make no sense to frame it using a lamp post.
The frame should be complementing and should give a context to the main subject of interest to make the photograph more compelling!
I would recommend you to keep in mind all the photography composition techniques while composing a photograph. Several photographs ask for more than one composition technique making it a very strong photograph.
As always, be equipped with the knowledge and practice it in the field till it becomes your second nature!
Now…go out and shoot…and enjoy!
It’s your turn now to tell me which is your favorite composition technique and why? Do you generally club the techniques to make a compelling photograph?
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