Photography Composition Rules There are many thoughts and theories surrounding the notion of photography rules. In reality there are no rules. However, there are a number of established composition guidelines that can be utilized to create a very dramatic and impactful photographic image. Guidelines when used properly can enrich and make very compelling photographs that would otherwise be lacking in a natural balance. Guidelines can help draw your attention to the important parts of the scene and will also act as a catalyst in leading the viewer through the image as if they were seeing it entirely from your perspective. I suggest using the guidelines I have detailed below to improve your composition and shoot like a pro! Rule of Thirds Simply put, Rule of Thirds is arranging the most important element of the photo away from the center. This will add balance and create a heightened layer of interest. To accomplish this, divide the image into 9 equal segments establishing a grid pattern of 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The rule of thirds will have you place the most important element along these lines or where the lines intersect. This will provide a sense of natural balance and bring forth a greater level of interest in your photograph. There are some newer cameras on the market offering a grid rule of thirds overlay option superimposed on the LCD screen. Balancing Element Now that you understand the rule of thirds you have to be mindful to balance the photograph. The rule of thirds will place the main element off center, which will leave a void or empty space in the image. Try to include a lesser object to fill the space thus providing needed weight and overall balance. Leading Lines Your eyes will naturally process the image along concentric lines. These lines become quite important in your composition. When you look out at the landscape, think about how you want the lines to be placed so that it will affect the viewer’s perspective of the image. There are many types of lines such as straight, diagonal, jagged, and zigzag; each has a unique way of embellishing the photo Viewpoint Viewpoint is one of my favorite guidelines to play around with. Your viewpoint has a very significant influence on the photo and will play an important part in conveying your message. Think beforehand where you will shoot from and how this might affect the overall results. There are many options to consider other than just shooting at eye level. Consider, shooting down on the ground, from the side, from a ways back or very close up Background Bringing forth your subject and creating separation from the backdrop will again have a rather influential effect on the image. Many times what you thought was a great shot was severely compromise by virtue of the main subject blending into the background. Your camera has a tendency to flatten the foreground and background that will negatively impact the image. There is nothing worse than finding out after the fact that the great photo you thought you took was anything but. Thankfully there is a fix for this problem. When your shooting think about finding a plain unobtrusive background and compose the shot so it doesn’t detract from the subject. Depth It's important to note that photography is basically a two dimensional medium so its essential to create a sense of depth to your images. Who knows at some point 3D photography might change how we look at depth but for now its something we need to create so the eye perceives the image to have a 3D effect. You can construct a sense of depth by including objects in the foreground, middle ground and background. Another way to produce depth is by overlapping. Here you will deliberately and partially obscure one object for another. The human eye will process these different layers and mentally separate them out. Framing When you think of framing look at natural objects such as trees, archways and holes. Use these around the edge of the composition to help you isolate the main subject from the outside world. This will draw more focus and attention to the main point of interest. Cropping Very often an image will lack punch because the main subject is either too small and just gets lost in the hodgepodge of its surroundings. Think about cropping the image tightly around the main subject to eliminate the background noise. This way you get the viewers undivided attention. Experiment The digital age in photography has completely revolutionized how we approach our photographic journey. No longer are we confined to film processing. We can now fire off thousands of shots and delete the unwanted ones later at absolutely no expense. With this in mind have fun and experiment with your compositions as much as possible. You won’t know if an idea will work until you try it!