The Art of Composition - Sunrise on Sand Dunes

Composition and Photography

There are a few basic rules of composition that you need to be aware of and practice:

The Rule of Thirds

Simply put, divide the view-finder into thirds, vertically and horizontally. The four intersecting points are where you want to place subject matter of interest.

Third Rule

The “S” Curve

Will help you lead the viewer’s eye toward objects you wish to emphasize; also, a pleasing pattern.

s curve photography composition


The exact correspondence of form on the opposites sides of a dividing line. Our eye demands symmetry.

Eiffel tower looking up


Our eyes have been exposed to symmetry or near-symmetry since the day we were born and our MIND now demands it … is conditioned to it.¬† So, it is a factor that cannot be ignored. If you are presented with a scene that has symmetry you should not ignore it. You should do your best to compose that photograph precisely so that you emphasize and balance the scene. If you do ignore the apparent symmetry, you will create an un-balanced picture that is uncomfortable to the human eye.

composition beautiful peacock with feathers out

So rules listed above–“rule of thirds”, “S” curve, and symmetry–are important, but they are not set in stone. Look for ways to use the rules …………. Rule of thirds, for instance….Here, all four points have an element of interest. Or look for ways to bend the rules a bit …

composition Victorian houses in San Francisco

A variation of that “S” curve … and, breaking away from symmetry to add a touch of dimensionality and drama.¬†Once you have practiced and worked with these rules …. learn how to break them successfully!!!!

A few more tidbits about how we see HERE