Photography - Rules of Composition

Composition is defined as the combining of distinct parts or elements to form a whole. In photography that definition is very important in taking quality pictures. The following rules of composition should be learned and considered but not necessarily used in every photo. Once you have learned these rules you will be more observant of the possible photo opportunities that surround you. But keep in mind that the really famous photographers usually find a creative way to stretch or break the rules of composition.

RULE OF THIRDS

The rule of thirds has been used through the centuries and is probably the most recognized rule. The rule of thirds directs that the frame can be divided into three vertical sections and three horizontal sections. Wherever the separating lines connect is an ideal spot for a subject or point of interest. By positioning your main subject at any of the four intersection points, you are giving your subject more emphasis than if it is right in the middle of the photo. The intersection points can also work if there is more than one main subject in a photo. Most famous photographs and paintings have the rule of thirds applied to them in some way or another.

SIMPLICITY

The simplicity rule directs that you should keep the items in your photo relatively simple. If your main subject is close to the lens, then your background should be very simple in order to avoid distractions. Another good idea is to avoid objects or lines that lead the eye away from your main subject.

CONTRAST

The contrast rule directs that light subjects should be placed against dark backgrounds and vice versa.

FRAMING

The framing rule directs that using natural surroundings mindfully can add more meaning and focus to your subject. The surroundings could be anything such as bushes, windows, trees or even a doorway. When using this rule be sure to focus on the main subject and not on the surroundings that are framing it. It is also a good idea to use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) when using this rule in order to create a high depth-of-field.

TEXTURE

The texture rule can add a great amount of interest to most photos. When people see texture in a photo it can spark their imagination and make the photo more real to life. Texture would be a good idea when taking photos of rocks, walls, surfaces, hands or even leaves. In order to create texture try to compose your photo so the light is coming from the side and therefore casting shadows in key places.

DIAGONALS

The diagonal rule directs that diagonal elements or lines can make a photo more dynamic. Diagonal elements could be fence posts, roads or even tree branches.

LEADING LINES

The leading lines rule can be used to direct the eye deeper into a photo and commonly to the main subject. Leading lines can lure the eye to a subject by leading to it from any side or depth of the photo. Leading lines could be roads, rivers, tree branches or even bridges.

COLOR

The color rule is what adds interest and emotion to your pictures. Different color configurations can inspire and amaze viewers. Colors can also be used to accent certain parts of a photo.

It might not be a bad idea to keep these key terms with you when you practice taking photos. The best way to learn and improve your composition is just to use them often and to experiment.

Richard Schneider is a digital photography enthusiast and founder of http://www.picturecorrect.com/ which offers tips and news about digital photography, digital camera reviews, photoshop tutorials and computer wallpaper.

In The News:

Portrait of a photographer  The New Indian Express
Call for photography show entries  White Mountain Independent
Exploring mental health through photography  British Journal of Photography
Pool Party Image  National Geographic

The Paradigm: Going Digital

As you might imagine the paradigm shift from traditional film-based... Read More

The Well-Dressed Photographer - Summer

Outdoor photographers shoot year round. That includes the hot summer.... Read More

Infrared Photography and Big City Crime

One of the major problems of the larger cities of... Read More

Where to Find Cheap Disposable Cameras

There are many kinds of disposable cameras. All disposable cameras... Read More

Kodak CX7300 Digital Camera

Quality digital cameras are becoming affordable for just about everyone... Read More

Canon Digital Camera - from Humble Beginnings to World Class Company

Started in a single-room by three Japanese men in the... Read More

Wedding Photography: How to Become a Successful Wedding Photographer

Once in while I receive e-mails or phone calls from... Read More

How to Photograph Your Baby

Babies make the best and the worst subjects to photograph.... Read More

Digital Cameras vs. Film Cameras- the debate goes on

One of the biggest debates in the photography world is... Read More

Picture Framing for Photographers - Part 2

There are two sources for obtaining the moulding for making... Read More

Candid Photography

Candid photography is photography that focuses on spontaneity rather than... Read More

Removing Spot Scratches in Your Treasured Photos ? 5 Minute Digital Fix

Probably one of the most common problems you will be... Read More

Digital Image Files ? Megapixels, Megabytes, or DPI?

When I promised readers that I was going to do... Read More

Photography - Rules of Composition

Composition is defined as the combining of distinct parts or... Read More

Underwater Digital Cameras

Underwater photography's is primarily focused towards entertaining and informing the... Read More

Get The Most Out of Your Digital Camera Today!

Point and click. The new life of digital cameras gives... Read More

Light Meter Readings for Film and Digital

Reflected Light Readings for Film and Digital ImagesIn order to... Read More

Photographing Kids

Kids grow up so quickly and while we are often... Read More

CCTV Camera Tip: Apply Simple Common Sense when Picking CCTV Cameras and Lenses

Get a good face shot: Use Higher quality cameras at... Read More

What Should You Look for in a New Camera?

These parameters are discussed at 2 levels: -Based on... Read More

Easy Tips for Digital Photo Touchups

Using a digital camera to take pictures is great. It's... Read More

Digital Camera Batteries

Every device needs a driving force to operate, just as... Read More

Digital Camera Metering

Looking at the most intricate details of the digital camera... Read More

Creating Personalized Photo Calendars

About Personalized Photo Calendars:Photo Calendars are 12-month, wall-hanging calendars that... Read More

To Camcorder Enthusiasts: What Does Reality TV Really Mean? - Great News for the Camcorder User!

Reality TV is experiencing an upsurge in popularity and its... Read More