Friday, 23 November 2012

Photography Composition Tips

Over the past week I have been posting a composition tip each day... in reality though... there are no rules... art is subjective. But it is always good to know the basics.

Below you will find a summary of each of my tips.

Leading Lines

When we look at a photo our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way we view the image, pulling us into the picture, towards the subject, or on a journey "through" the scene. There are many different types of line - straight, diagonal, curvy, zigzag, radial etc - and each can be used to enhance our photo's composition.

Naturally Framing a Subject

Framing a subject... naturally framing a focal point is a great way to anchor a photo. It gives an image a natural border and keeps the eyes on the subject.

This image uses the clock face at the Musee D'Orsay as the frame for the Sacre Coeur in the background. Both have interest, but the eye is naturally drawn to the Sacre Coeur.

The next time you are out taking photos, try to use elements to frame your image.

Symmetry and Patterns

We are surrounded by symmetry and patterns, both natural and man-made., They can make for very eye-catching compositions, particularly in situations where they are not expected. Another great way to use them is to break the symmetry or pattern in some way, introducing tension and a focal point to the scene

Depth in a Photo

Because photography is a two-dimensional medium, we have to choose our composition carefully to conveys the sense of depth that was present in the actual scene. You can create depth in a photo by including objects in the foreground, middle ground and background. Another useful composition technique is overlapping, where you deliberately partially obscure one object with another. The human eye naturally recognises these layers and mentally separates them out, creating an image with more depth.

Landscape Photography

Do not forget the foreground in a landscape photo... the best way to capture the whole photo is to focus 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the photo and use an f-stop of f/16 to bring as much into focus as possible.

Experiment When Taking Photos

With the dawn of the digital age in photography we no longer have to worry about film processing costs or running out of shots. As a result, experimenting with our photos' composition has become a real possibility; we can fire off tons of shots and delete the unwanted ones later at absolutely no extra cost. Take advantage of this fact and experiment with your composition - you never know whether an idea will work until you try it.

Photographing People

When you are photographing a person you should always focus on the eyes... the eyes create a connection with the subject and the person looking at your photo.

Rule of Thirds

Imagine that your image is divided into 9 equal segments by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The Rule of Thirds says that you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

Doing so will add balance and interest to your photo. Some cameras even offer an option to superimpose a rule of thirds grid over the LCD screen, making it even easier to use.

Point of View

Before photographing your subject, take time to think about where you will shoot it from. Our viewpoint has a massive impact on the composition of our photo, and as a result it can greatly affect the message that the shot conveys. Rather than just shooting from eye level, consider photographing from high above, down at ground level, from the side, from the back, from a long way away, from very close up, and so on.

To learn more about composition please check out the Photographer's Lounge composition workshops. We run a composition class each month focusing on a diferent topic.