Composition Techniques in Photography

Composing a photograph before capturing it is an important part of photography. A well composed picture is sure to capture the viewer’s attention immediately while if the composition is poor, it tends to make the photo off-putting.In this article we will be discussing about various composition techniques used in photography.

Rule of Thirds

One of the most common rules used while framing a photograph is the rule of thirds. The frame is divided into two horizontal lines and two vertical lines and the intersection points of the lines are the points where subject should be placed while framing a picture.

Picture courtesy: Mark Schenker
Picture courtesy: Elysian Tales

Leading Lines

Using leading lines in a photograph is an effective way of drawing the attention of the viewer towards the subject of the photo. The photo is composed in a way that the lines in the frame converge onto the subject adding a sense of depth to the photograph.

Picture source:
Picture courtesy: Elysian Tales

Frame in a Frame

Using frame within a frame is a good way to add depth and context to a photo while directing the attention of the viewer to a particular point on the photo. The technique of framing within a frame is to find a structure or a layout through which you can shoot the main subject. What it does is it reduces the amount of negative space in the photo while adding a different perspective to it.

Picture courtesy: Elysian Tales
Picture courtesy: Elysian Tales

Dominant Eye

This framing technique is used while shooting portraits. It suggests that the dominant eye of the subject should be placed along the central axis of the photo which results in more aesthetically pleasing photographs.

Picture courtesy: Steve McCurry
Picture courtesy: Steve McCurry

Diagonal Lines

Using diagonal lines while composing a photo is a great way to draw the eye of the viewers through the photograph. The diagonal lines intersect with other lines and often gives a sense of depth and perspective to the image.

Picture Courtesy: David Pavlovic Dobrojevic

The Golden Ratio

The golden ratio has been used as a composition tool for quite a long time. It is used to create images that are balanced and harmonized and naturally looks pleasing to the eyes. There are two ways in which the golden ration is used in composition:

The Fibonacci Spiral

It includes a series of squares where the length of the square follows the Fibonacci sequence. The spiral is then created using the diagonal points on each square which flows through the frame. The concept of Fibonacci Spiral is shown in the photograph below

Picture source:

The Phi Grid

It is similar to the Rule of Thirds composition technique, the only difference being the fact that instead of dividing the frame into equal thirds of 1:1:1, the golden ratio is applied and the frame is divided into 1:0.618:1.

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While all these composition techniques and rules exist to help you make a better photograph but in the end it all comes down to individual preferences. Sometimes not following a fixed set of rules can yield better results than trying to cram all of the composition techniques in a single picture. The most important thing is to use your own innovation and to learn something new every time. So, happy clicking folks!

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