5 Basic Compositional Rules in Photography
As a beginner photographer, you must surely be looking at the images made by other photographers, people whose work you admire. Among the many things that you may undoubtedly notice, you may also have noticed that somehow the compositions of these photographers tend to be a lot more eye-catching.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an average photo and a remarkable photograph? How do you know how if a photo works? What makes a photograph outstanding? Is it the setting (or environment), depth-of-field, the subject, lighting (either ambient or artificial), balance, the use of lines, how space is utilized, the uses of color, or contrast?
Photography is about communication between the photographer and the viewer. It’s all about the photographer telling their story through an image. So what makes for a great image? The answer can be rather subjective. Most of us would agree that a great image strikes a chord inside of us. It evokes a strong emotional response in the viewer. But there are also some tangible elements of good
It does take a considerable amount of time and energy to develop the necessary skills to make great images. One thing that is also required is a good understanding of the Compositional Rules of
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Rule #1: Leading Lines
Leading lines are used by photographers in different ways to compose their images. However, the most dominant use of leading lines is that it draws the attention of the user to the main subject of the image. Sometimes, though, leading lines are used to draw the viewer’s eyes deeper into the image. It remains one of the sure-fire ways to capture attention-grabbing images, allowing the eyes to follow a line and wander into the image.
Rule #2: Rule of Thirds
Probably the most talked about and therefore clichéd rule in
Simply put, divide the viewfinder into thirds, vertically and horizontally. The four intersecting points are where you need to place the subject.
Rule #3: Negative Space
Negative space is all about leaving space, and lots of it, in the image to ensure that the main subject occupies a small portion of it. How much space to leave depends on you and the final look of the image. One of the uses of negative space is in commercial and stock
Rule #4: Horizon Line
The horizon line need not be right at the middle of the frame. I know it kind of looks right, but then that’s not necessarily useful. The horizon line should be either 2/3rds the way down or up, depending on whether the sky is more interesting or the foreground.
Rule #5: Symmetry and Patterns
Symmetry is closely related to beauty, and it is the exact correspondence of form on the opposites sides of a dividing line. Perfect symmetry is always eye catching. Try and incorporate anything symmetrical in your images, and the quality of your compositions will go up automatically.
Our eyes have been exposed to symmetry or dynamic symmetry since the day we were born, and our minds now demand it and are conditioned to it. So, it is a rule 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 ignore the apparent symmetry, you will create an un-balanced picture that is uncomfortable to the human eye.
Patterns are yet another aspect that lend a degree of interest to your images, especially when a pattern is broken.