Isnin, 14 Mac 2011


Good Composition is a key element of good photographs yet is something that is hard to define.
Instead of looking at composition as a set of ‘rules’ to follow – I view it as a set of ingredients that can be taken out of the pantry at any point and used to make a great ‘meal’ (photograph). Alternatively I’ve often described it as a set of ‘tools’ that can be taken out of one’s compositional tool belt at any given time in the construction of a great image.
The key is to remember that in the same way as a chef rarely uses all the ingredients at their disposal in any dish – that a photographer rarely uses all of the ingredients of composition in the making of an image.
Today I’d like to look at five of the ingredients (or tools, or elements) of composition that I draw on in my photography. They’re not ‘rules’ – just things that I consider when setting up a shot.


Image by actionlovr
There are patterns all around us if we only learn to see them. Emphasizing and highlighting these patterns can lead to striking shots – as can high lighting when patterns are broken.
Read more on using repetition and patterns in photography.


Image by straightfinder
Depending upon the scene – symmetry can be something to go for – or to avoid completely.
A symmetrical shot with strong composition and a good point of interest can lead to a striking image – but without the strong point of interest it can be a little predictable. I prefer to experiment with both in the one shoot to see which works best.
Read more on symmetry in photography.


Image by Grant McDonald
Images a two dimensional thing yet with the clever use of ‘texture’ they can come alive and become almost three dimensional.
Texture particularly comes into play when light hits objects at interesting angles.
Read more on using light to create texture in your photography.

Depth of Field

Image by orangeacid
The depth of field that you select when taking an image will drastically impact the composition of an image.
It can isolate a subject from its background and foreground (when using a shallow depth of field) or it can put the same subject in context by revealing it’s surrounds with a larger depth of field.
Read more on getting shallow depth of field and also this video tutorial on depth of field.


Image by stevacek
Lines can be powerful elements in an image.
They have the power to draw the eye to key focal points in a shot and to impact the ‘feel’ of an image greatly.
Diagonal, Horizontal, Vertical and Converging lines all impact images differently and should be spotted while framing a shot and then utilized to strengthen it.
These are just some of the elements of composition that I consider in my photography. They reflect my own style and personality but there are plenty more.


Image by foreversouls
Most of us use ‘frames’ to display our images when we hang them on walls for viewing – however ‘framing’ can be used within the composition of a shot to help you highlight your main point of interest in the image and and/or to put it in context to give the image ‘depth’.
Learn how to use framing as an element of composition.


Image by Image by fensterbme
The perspective that a shot is taken from is another element that can have a big impact upon an image.
Shooting from up high and looking down on a subject or shooting from below looking up on the same subject drastically impact not only the ‘look’ of the image, emphasizing different points of interest, angles, textures, shapes etc – but it also impacts the ’story’ of an image.
Read more on photographing people from different angles.


Image by .robbie
There can be a fine line between filling your frame with your subject (and creating a nice sense of intimacy and connection) and also giving your subject space to breath.
Either technique can be effective – so experiment with moving in close and personal and moving out to capture a subject in its context.
Sometimes it is what you leave out of an image that makes it special


Image by *L*u*z*a*
The positioning with elements in a frame can leave an image feeling balanced or unbalanced.
Too many points of interest in one section of your image can leave it feeling too ‘heavy’ or complicated in that section of the shot and other parts feeling ‘empty’.
Read more about balance in photography.


Image by baboon
The colors in an image and how they are arranged can make or break a shot.
Bright colors can add vibrancy, energy and interest – however in the wrong position they can also distract viewers of an image away from focal points.
Colors also greatly impact ‘mood’. Blues and Greens can have a calming soothing impact, Reds and Yellows can convey vibrancy ad energy etc.