Good photography allows you to create something that’s beautiful to look at, but great photography with perfect composition allows you to immortalize a moment.
People often misunderstand the word “composition” when used in line with photography. They start thinking that it means that great photography is dictated by a rigid set of rules that are meant to be followed step by step. However, this is not the case. Read on to understand what it really means to perfectly compose a shot.
What is a good composition in photography?
Photography composition is the key to grabbing your audience’s attention by ensuring the right amount of space and positioning of the subjects in your photo.
Perfect photography composition starts with these:
- Right positioning of the subject
- The right amount of space around the subject(s)
- Effective use of the backgrounds
- Perfect use of depth, context, and aesthetic appearance of the subject
- Perfect use of contrast
By using the right techniques, you will achieve high quality and aesthetic looking photos.
Apply the ‘Rule of Thirds’
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is simple. In your smartphone or camera, you will see a grid that is divided into 9 equal rectangles, 3 lines across and 3 lines down. This grid allows you to place the important subject(s) of your desired scene along with one or more of the lines or where the lines intersect each other. Placing it off-center will create more emphasis on the subject(s). It is known as the ‘Rule of Thirds’, however, you can think of it as placing your target subject(s) in the four crosshairs. This will result in balancing your main subject with enough negative space that will draw the viewer’s attention.
Leave negative space
In simple terms, negative space is the space around the subject that helps to define the main focus (or positive space). It is the space surrounding the main subject(s) which acts as the background – leaving enough negative space that helps in creating beautiful and minimalistic photographs to draw the viewer’s attention.
There are no specific rules for using negative space in photography. The more you practice it, the more you will be used to this method and will incorporate it unconsciously.
For instance, when you see the main subject, look at the area or background surrounding it, frame the subject to surround it with negative space. Adjusting your position by moving closer or away from the subject will help make your image stand out.
Use centered composition & opt for symmetrical scenes
This technique helps achieve the perfect balance for your photographs. It is widely used for capturing photographs of architecture, landscapes, and roads.
Ensuring a centered, symmetrically-placed subject creates the feeling of balance in your photos, and helps to enable the grid display on your camera or smartphone and position the main subject at the exact center of the frame. Horizontal splitting is ideal for landscapes while vertical splitting helps in achieving the perfect symmetry for architecture.
Look for simple backgrounds
The background of an image provides the stage for your composition. Hence, the perfect use of backgrounds will help you shoot attention-grabbing photographs. Here are a few simple points to take note of when using the backgrounds in a photo shoot:
- Don’t use a background that is distracting or too cluttered
- Use a background that adds depth to a photo
- Pay attention to the details in the background
- Try to use a background that adds a story and meaning to your composition
- A background should highlight your subject(s)
- To add excitement to your photograph, use a contrasting background
- You can even blur the background that is too distracting
Use ‘frame within frame’ techniques
The ‘frame within frame’ technique helps in adding depth and context to your photo. It is a great way to catch viewers’ eyes. There are various ways of using a ‘frame within frame’ technique. Here are some of the common types of framing methods:
While shooting, select your main subject and find a shape in the foreground of the photo that will surround your subject thereafter.
Before capturing a scene, explore the surrounding area and decide on what you can and cannot use as the background of your subject. Then, place your subject in the middle of the background as you would place it in the middle of a frame.
Find the perfect exposure
Never overexpose or underexpose your subject within the frame. Use a frame that adds the perfect aesthetic balance to your subject within it. You may want to set your camera or smartphone in manual mode to find a more comfortable exposure.
Leading the eye
This technique helps in leading the viewers’ eyes to a specific direction or towards the main subject of the photograph. Try using a frame that adds extra depth to your subject in order to draw the viewers’ attention towards the center of the image.
Anything is not perfect without practice, especially in photography. When you incorporate these tips into your photography journey, you will be able to take perfect shots. There are many composition tips that you can adopt to create aesthetic looking portraits or sceneries. All you need to do is practice with the right techniques.