What sets one photo above the rest? It could be the light, the color balance, the composition, the story it tells, or a combination of all of those factors!
Photo composition is one of the first things you should look for before you snap any pictures. New to photography or want to brush up on some composition tips? Look no further – here’s your guide to photo composition.
The rule of thirds
You’ve probably heard about this one. The rule of thirds is having the subject of your photo fill only one third of the frame. Many cameras (even iPhones!) have a setting to show a grid with nine squares across your frame – this is a very helpful visual in seeing what one third actually looks like.
Basically, using this rule means your subject is not the center of your photograph. However, having the subject in the one of the upper or lower thirds draws the eye to where it should be looking.
Landscapes can still adhere to the rule of thirds, if you want – try putting the horizon on the upper or lower third of the photo.
Leading lines are another method to draw attention to your subject. Leading lines can really be anything – fences, benches, railings, stairs, sidewalks, lights, shadows, et cetera. It’s just a piece of the photograph that actually points to where the eye should be going.
Leading lines don’t have to be a straight line – they can be curved, too! Now that you know of leading lines, I bet you’ll start seeing them all around you. All you have to do is slow down and take note of your surroundings!
Framing is yet another technique that shines a spotlight on your subject. With this method, you take an element in the photo that literally frames your subject. What can act as a frame?
Anything, really! Architectural elements – like doorways and window frames – are common framing techniques. You can also nature! Trees, grass, and flowers can frame your subjects nicely, especially if the elements are blurred in the foreground. Although it’s a bit trickier, you can also frame your subjects using shadows and light.
When your subject is in the center of the frame, using symmetry can elevate it to the next level. Symmetry adds balance and stability to your subjects. You achieve it by having a mirror image (or something that’s just about close to a mirror image) on either side of the photo. This draws your eye directly to where it should be – the subject!
Now that you’re implementing leading lines or the rule of thirds, here’s when you should also think about negative space, which is the space surrounding your subject. Negative space can take up most of the photograph, or it can be the smallest part.
Using negative space gives the overall image a simpler and cleaner feel. It’s not overwhelming for the viewer and it really makes the focus of your photograph what you want people to look at.
What composition tips and tricks do you have?