Like a musician composing a magnificent piece of music, you can compose a visual symphony by putting different element into photographs. Like composing a music, there are some photography composition rules that can make your photo looks great.
As a composer uses melody and harmony to create a mood and elicit a response from his listeners, you can see in your mind the elements of planning and positioning which will make your photographs beautiful and interesting. Do not be frightened by photography buzzwords. Photography composition simply means that you put forethought into how you frame and present the subject of your picture.
Here is some basic composition rules that you can use to create great photos.
Photography Composition Rules
The Rule of Third
One of the most important composition guideline is rule of third. When you look through the viewfinder, you may find gridlines divide into the sense into nine equal squares by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.
To compose an engaging shot, you can place the main subject at or near one of the four intersections of the grid lines. A centered subject results in a photo which is extremely ordinary and flat. But by placing your main subject, whether it is a person or a sculpture or a mountain peak, you can draw the viewer into the scene for a more personal experience.
Positioning of Horizon
When you look upon a lovely outdoor scene you will always see beauty above and below the horizon. You will naturally want to bring out that beauty into your photograph. To create a more stunning picture, place the horizon in one third of the frame. This is another form of rule of third.
For example, when you photographing a sailboat on the sea at sunset, you can include more of the sky and the breathtaking rays of the sun.
Another option would be to place the horizon in the top third of the frame. This would accentuate the frothy waves lapping at the beach as the boat drifts in the distance. Both views would be lovely, and both would draw the viewer’s eye into the serenity of the seascape.
Use Leading Line
Most scene will include lines of some kind running through the frame. You can use the straight lines of a skyscraper to guide the viewer’s eyes upward. Or you can photograph a split rail fence from an angle which accentuates the scene in the background while it gives depth to the shot.
The lines you use do not have to be strictly horizontal or vertical. Diagonal lines, such as those of the sunbeams and the sailboat on the sea, can gently grasp the viewer’s attention and lead it to a specific point.
And curved or S-shaped lines, like a gravel road or the wings of a bird in flight or a flag waving in the breeze, can add beauty and grace to complement the subject.
Textures and Patterns
Every surface has a texture and many groups of items reveal a pattern. A field of round hay bales makes an excellent subject for a pastoral photograph. By standing next to a bale, holding the camera close to it, and aiming across its surface, you can illustrate the texture of the hay in the foreground while capturing the other bales in the background.
When composing around patterns or textures, you can create lovely contrast with a break in the pattern or a break in the color scheme. The beauty of an exquisite flower bloom is made even more vivid if the shot includes a fat bumble bee in the edge of the frame.
Follow the Action Direction
If your subject is in action, frame the photograph so that the subject is moving into the frame. For example, if you are photographing a deer in a foggy meadow, the picture will better engage the viewer if the deer is walking toward the center of the frame instead of facing the outer edge.
In this way, you will help the viewer experience what is occurring in the photo. Place the subject to one side so that your picture captures a wide view of the surrounding environment.