Understand Composition in Photography Easy Way

Composition in photography

Composition in photography is something that every photographer should know. It is the basic concept of photography. If you haven’t heard of this that means you are new to it.

If you are doing photography for some time and still not aware of it. You need to read this article.

Every other photography word sounds difficult. But it’s easy to understand with proper guidance and practice. Here in this blog, I will talk about composition in general and what it means in photography.

Also how to use it in your photographs. And what are the different techniques to get proper composition?

So let’s dive in to get better with it.

What is Composition in General?

You might have heard this word somewhere. The literal meaning for composition is. To add or to mix something to produce an effective outcome. When you will relate it with the general world. You will find it everywhere.

A block of concrete is a composition of cement, sand, grits, and chemicals. The food you eat is a mixture of so many ingredients. Yes, those ingredients are the composition like oil, vegetable, fruits, and Spices.

So here the final words:

“Adding something to the system to process an effective outcome”

Now the let’s see it from the artist’s point of view. Let it be music, painting, filmmaking, or photography. All use these words in their field. Its simple means to add elements to produce something effective.

The musician composes music by adding sound and track of different instruments. The painter adds different colors to their canvas to draw a beautiful painting.

The filmmaker added many footages to create one movie. So like all other artists it’s same with a photographer in photography. But in their own perspective.

Let’s check out, what is the composition in photography?

What is Composition in Photography?

Composition in photography means adding and arranging elements in the frame to capture a picture. It’s similar to all other artistic platforms. But here you arrange objects and subjects in the available scene to produce appealing photographs.

Before we get deeper into the composition let me speak a few words about frame and framing. It will make it easy to understand.

Frame

A frame in photography is the structure beneath which all your photographs are captured. It is always rectangular. The reason behind it is the image sensor, which is rectangular shape.

Framing

Framing in photography is nothing but the process of deciding the frame of your photographing scene. Proper framing can take your photography to the next level. As everything starts from here.

Once there was a photographer who learned photography without having a DSLR. Just by using his basic smartphone, and a simple editing app. His pictures got popular through Instagram.

The pictures were so appealing people started sharing and learning his ways of taking pictures. The question is why his pictures were so appealing and popular to the viewers. It was because of his framing techniques.

He was limited to his mobile and he did all the possible things to make his photographs look beautiful. Thus, he explored framing and its benefits in photography.

So this is the basic thing which will make your photos stand out. 

So, how is it related to composition?

Everything in your photographs is within the frame. Whatever you compose will be inside the frame. So before composing, decide your frame to get better images.

Here’s the final word:

“ Composition means deciding, adding, and arranging the elements of your scene into the frame. To capture a balanced image.”

How to Compose Your photos?

Composing makes your photographs look amazing. It’s easy to frame a better composition. There are many techniques of composition, which you can follow to capture a balanced image.

I will talk about the different ways of composition later on. But before that let’s check out some basic things you need to know while composing.

  1. Know your needs for photography
  2. Check the light condition
  3. Decide your subject
  4. Other priorities after the subjects
  5. Check the background and foreground
  6. Check the available color for better contrast
  7. Create your frame
  8. Check what all things can be added into the frame and arrange it.
  9. Do your camera settings and bang it on
  10. Click the shutter button

OMG! Such a long checklist. Who will bother to follow all this?

Oh, wait for a second!

If you’re a beginner photographer. You will follow these things unconsciously as it will become your habit by regular practice. 

These processes sound very long but all the expert photographers does this. Which is not being written or said. As it takes very little time to decide these things.

Now let’s check out the different ways/methods to compose your photos.

Few Ways to Compose Your photos?

There are many different methods you can compose your photos. Though it’s not a hard rule to follow these ways. These are just the proven one which work pretty well in a specific situation.

You can compose the pictures as per your wish, if it meets your needs and provide the message to the viewers.

I have discussed the important one on this list. They are :

  • Rule of thirds
  • Leading Lines
  • Symmetry and Patterns
  • Color
  • Diagonal and triangle
  • Fill the frame/Crop it
  • Use negative Space
  • Isolate the subject
  • background

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds in photography is the most common composition method. You must have heard of this, if not we will make it easy for you to understand. 

In this, we divide the frame into thirds, horizontally and vertically both. Three-section horizontal and 3 sections vertical. Let us check it this way.

Divide the frame into 9 parts by drawing 3 straight lines horizontally and 3 straight lines vertically. It will form a 9 square where each line will intersect each other. This intersection line is also known as a point of interest.

Rule of thirds Phodus
Rule of thirds grid -Phodus

Now the rule says placing the subject in any point of interest or somewhere near to the point will make the picture more balanced.

You can also place the subject on the line or near the line. Though it’s always not necessary to follow the rule of thirds. There can be exceptions which will make the picture look even better.

The best example of this can be a bird in flight, where you have placed the bird in the point of intersection flying towards the right. 

Like in portrait shots placing the subject in the middle of the frame. It will look pretty well. So you can break the rules.

Leading Lines

In your frame, if you find any type of lines leading towards somewhere will give an appealing picture. It shows a message of forwardness, a leading path towards the subjects. 

The leading line can be anything in the frame like a road, patterns, or any objects. If you saw any leading lines in your frame utilize it. Along with one method, you can combine many other methods in one composition.

Like you can use the rule of thirds with leading lines. These lines are not necessary to be a straight line. It can be a curved line also. It depends on how you see it and how you want your viewers to see it.

Leading lines capture a more balanced composition.

Symmetry and Patterns

If you will look at the literal meaning of symmetry it says the equal balance part of something. Yes, exactly you can do the composition in such a way that there is a symmetry formation in the image. 

You can also do a mix of other composition methods for a balanced image.

Patterns make the picture look beautiful. If you find any pattern formation in your scene. You can add it to your composition. The patterns don’t only mean geometrical shapes like square, triangle, or a circle. It can be of any shape and size.

It all depends on the way you define your frame and arrange the patterns into it.

Colors

Colors the most important one and the least notice one among the beginners. The colors have their science behind influencing people. It’s the viewers in your case. It makes your image look more attractive.

Every color has its value to make the picture look more powerful. Everything white in the frame will not look good. Until you add a spot of different colors which makes it more attractive. Like black, red, or whatever you find to add in the composition.

The colors will be the objects and the subjects of your scene. 

Use the Color composition to make your pictures look more attractive. As said above you can add other methods to make it even better.

Monochrome photography has only two colors black and white. But have you ever noticed those pictures? It gives such a powerful message and looks amazing to see. There is one small factor of color which makes it different.

Diagonal and Triangle

The shapes like forming diagonals and triangles with the elements of the composition will make the picture look dynamic.

While deciding your composition you can find a diagonal line or a triangle shape. You will mostly find these shapes in architecture, building, or bridges.

You can use the method in landscape photography or architecture photography. Though it’s not necessary to use this in this mentioned photography only.

You can do it in any photography if you find these shapes.

Fill the frame/Cropping

Fill the entire frame with particular subjects. You can do the same by cropping the frame and fill the frame with the subjects.

This composition is best for photography, where you want to show the features of the subject. Like in portraits photography and product photography. Where the details matter to the viewers.

Take an example of a magazine wherein in the front page a beautiful model is displayed with her eyes and lips only. The frame is filled up completely. The ad was of a makeup product. So from here, you can make out the purpose of such composition.

Use Negative Space

First of all let’s understand, what is negative space in photography? The unwanted space apart from the subject in your frame is the negative scape. 

Suppose you followed the rule of thirds and placed the subject on the right vertical line. Now that the subject is on the right there is enough space on the left. Such cases utilize those spaces by adding them to the frame. 

Using the negative space makes the pictures look more attractive and add sense to it.

Isolate the subject

The most common one if you have not noticed then let me tell you. The picture with the blur background or foreground. Oh, I see,

Yes, these are images you love the most. It is all because the focus is isolated on the subject by blurring the background.

This is one of the best ways to make the subject stand out from the background. You have often seen such types of photos in portraits photography. Also in wildlife photography and candid wedding photography.

In portraits, we isolate the subject by blurring the background. The same with capturing animals. We tend to isolate the animal by blurring the background. 

These types of photography happen when you want the focus of your viewers on a particular subject in the frame.

Background

This is the old school composition. Any newbie knows to check the background while capturing images. Even the kids know the background is good or bad for the picture. 

Background in photography places an essential role. If it is not good it can ruin your picture.

So whenever you are hold your camera do consider this. Even if you follow any other composition method in the same frame.

Sometimes unknowingly, you fail to see some unwanted objects in the background. Which makes you feel bad when you see it in post-production. 

This generally happens in street photography or while doing candid photography. Later on, you feel why I didn’t notice this object in the background.

If possible you can change the background by photo manipulation in photoshop.

Conclusion

Now you have understood about composition in photography. It will help you to create balanced and appealing images. This is one of the important concepts you should know before starting your photography.

In this blog you have learned about composition and the different techniques used for it.

If still, you have any doubts or questions. Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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