Mastering composition in photography

Mastering composition in photography

Julius Shulman once said that the camera is the least important element in photography. He was of course right. But what is the most important one? You can definitely put composition very high on the list of important elements.

So what is composition? Composition describes placement of relative objects and elements in a photograph.

To understand what composition is just think about what you feel when you see a good photo (or a bad one for that matter)? All elements in a good photo just feel in the right places, everything looks aesthetically pleasing. Composition is all about balance. You have to make sure all the elements present in the photo are necessary for the story you are trying to pass on.

Composition is a way of guiding the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of your photo and sometimes in a very specific order.

Done right, composition can make a good photo even from dullest objects and subjects. A poorly done composition is also something you can’t usually fix in post-processing. Cropping can sometimes save an image, but only when tighter framing and removal of certain portion of the image is at all possible.

The Rule of Thirds is the most well-known ‘rule’ of photographic composition. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. See photo bellow:

Rule of thirds

The theory behind the rule of thirds is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and will help the viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. With a little time and practice applying the rule of thirds will become a second nature to you! Mastering composition in photography is easy, you just need to train yourself what to look for.

With that said please keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken. It is possible to create pleasing and balanced images even if you do not strictly apply the rule of thirds.

Would you like to know more? Please take a look at the menu above and our photography workshops in Brussels!

All photos are © Ivo Popov



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