Composition

How to Improve Your Images with Composition by Katherine Nielsen

The correct composition will transform your photography from average to professional.

This is something I am still working on with my own imagery. So I decided to put together this easy to understand outline of composition in photography. Composition includes one or all of these concepts and it is good to practice all of these and compare the results.

There are are many sub categories to composition but this will give you a basic rundown.


THE RULE OF THIRDS involves dividing up your image using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, as shown in the image below. Positioning the important elements of your scene along those lines. Generally an off-centre composition is more asthetically appealing and looks more natural than placing the subject directly in the middle.

Image by Anna Gay

Image by Anna Gay

THE GOLDEN RATIO This is a more advanced method of the rule of thirds you will often see this used in architecture and art. This method allows for a perfectly balanced composition that is proven to be aesthetically appealing. This ratio is seen in nature all the time because of this we naturally prefer to look at a photograph that is balance and harmonised. You can over lay this in Lightroom when you are editing an image.

Image By Ryan Searle

Image By Ryan Searle

BALANCE is another compositional technique in photography that concerns the position of objects within a scene. Additionally, balance also relates to symmetry, colour, texture, depth of field, negative space, visual weight, highlights and shadows.

Image from Shutterstock

Image from Shutterstock

FRAMING OF A SUBJECT is a composition technique that assists in drawing attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene. It can be used in a really creative way to draw your eye in and gives your image context and creates a story for your image. You can use natural elements like trees or plants, doorways, windows or light and shadows.

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

LEADING LINES is the most common example of this method is using a road. Leading lines is a composition technique where your images attention is drawn to lines that lead to the main subject matter. A leading line creates an easy path for the eye to follow toward different elements of the photo. Generally they start at the bottom of the image guiding your eye to your subject.

Image from Unsplash