Composition in Photography

Composition in photography is simply how you frame the shot.  There is a few rules to think about when composing the shot.  Remember don’t confuse composition with exposure, they are totally different.  You can a perfectly lit and perfectly in focus photo that was composed poorly.   You can also have a perfectly composed photo that is totally blurry and your composition is lost on you poor exposure.  We need both, but in this article I will be talking about composition.

When composing a photo think about what you are trying to display.  Are you trying to tell a story?  Are you trying to convey an emotion?  Your composition is one factor that can help you accomplish your goal with each and every photo.  If you treat each snap of the shutter as a snapshot then your photos will look like snapshots.

Unless there is a specific reason not to then follow the Rule of Thirds.  Having your subject offset draw people eyes to that subject.  Photos are generally more pealing when the rule of thirds is followed.

Look for different patterns and textures.  Emphasizing some patterns can lead to some really dramatic photos.  Some texture create a very interesting look when light hit them at certain angles.  Pay attention to these details to enhance your photos.

Watch your symmertry or angles.  These element can really make or break a shot.  For example taking photos a car may look really cool with the camera titles, but action sports shot should almost always be straight on.  Watch your lines.  People’s eyes will follow lines.  Do they lead to something you want accented?    Experiment a bit.  Many of these elements are personal preference.

Watch your Depth of Field.  Taking a photo of a single person my look goo when only one eye is in focus, but that same depth of field when two people are in the photo will probably ruin the shot.  Trying to isolate a subject from its background is generally favorable with a single subject.  A landscape photo on the other hand generally needs to be shot with most everything in focus.

Arrangement of elements the way you want to see them.  Sometime you need to move something around, sometimes you need to zoom in or out, and many time you simply need to move yourself and take the photo from another position like on a chair or lying on the ground.  Also pay attention to odd object placement.  Taking a photo of a girl with a tree coming out of her head is probably bad composition.  Step a foot to the right and now the tree looks like it is behind her where it should be.

There are no 100% right or wrong answers, but there are some basics rules that should be followed.  The most important piece of composition is to think.  Think about the photo you are about to take.  Imagine what you are seeing as a actual photo.  Do you like what you see?