Photography is the art and science of capturing visually captivating and creative pictures within the frame of a camera. Be it a single-reflex camera, Polaroid, digital, DSLR, or even a smartphone’s camera, the ultimate basis of photography is creativity. After all, photography literally translates into “drawing with light”; using the light passing through the lens of the camera to “paint” a photo that is both technically and creatively amusing. Let’s go ahead and see how to create a strong impact on the viewers’ by application of these “rules of composition.”
Did you ever wonder how to position the camera in terms of layout so that you can capture the perfect photograph; highlighting the subject and making a creative distinction between the foreground and background? Well, that is what good composition is all about. The following 10 rules of composition that will enlighten you as to how to compose a photo.
#1 Rule of Thirds
The first rule of composition, Rule of thirds helps you place the subject in an ideal position within the frame. Imagine that your frame is divided into 9 parts by 2 horizontal and two vertical lines. According to this rule, you must place the most important elements of the image (subject) along these lines or at the points of intersection. This is one of the basic photography tips and will give the captured imagine a sense of visual creative and natural balance.
Applying the rule of thirds gives you good composition and may make your image very creative and interesting, but sometimes, by virtue of the rule of thirds, the subject gets placed on one side of the frame leaving a void on the other side. In cases like this, you must look for smaller objects in the background that will render the image naturally balanced making it a good composition.
#3 Leading Lines
The next one in the rules of composition which gives the a creative edge is leading lines. In a photo where the subject isn’t immediately prominent or is at a considerable distance, you can use the method of creating a “leading line” using any other element within the frame. The function of leading line is to simply “lead” or guide the viewers’ eyes towards the subject. The following images are examples of leading lines.
In this image, the photographer has used the railway track as the leading line that guides the viewers’ attention to the man crossing the track (subject).
In this image, there isn’t any particular subject. The road is used as a leading line in order to emphasize on distance. Hence, this in the rules of composition can also be used to lead the eyes from the foreground into the distance; which creates a strong visual impact.
Photography doesn’t always require the frame to be filled by a subject or a number of subjects in order to catch a viewer’s attention. One of the primary composition guidelines to be kept in mind is that even space can help highlight different key elements in a photograph. For example, placing the subject looking towards the left, on the far left side of the frame can emphasize the abstract of yearning and seeking. These feelings are exhibited onto the viewer due to the usage of negative space.
Space can also be effective while clicking photos that are meant to be used on banners, posters or ads. It gives place and a natural background for text to be entered. That, my friend, is the positive effect of negative space!
#5 Color & Contrast
One of the crazy wonderful things about today’s digital world is the ability to capture fascinating colors within the frame of the camera. But colors are truly captivating only if they please the eyes of the viewer and grab their attention. According to the composition rules, contrast is the best way to use color to create visually alluring sights as well as symbols and perception.
This is the creative impact, which the rules of composition can help you portray.
#6 Depth of Field
You might prefer that some parts of the image need to be much sharper than others in order to create emphasis or just to create an effect. Using depth of field helps here. Controlling the aperture and deciding which lens to use can help adjust the depth of field according to your liking. In simpler terms, rules of composition can be put in the following way: Bigger the aperture deeper is the depth of field. Smaller the focal length of the lens deeper is the depth of field. Deeper the depth of field, the sharper the image is and the farther the object is.
Smaller the aperture, shallow is the depth of field. Greater the focal length of the lens, shallower is the depth of field. It means that the image is more focused and zoomed on the subject and the background is gradually blurred.
#7 Patterns & Textures
While clicking photographs, always keep an eye out for any interesting patterns that appear within the frame. Then using the “depth of field” feature, you can make patterns look long and trail-like…
…or you can just click patterns in order to produce something artistic and creative:
Similarly, textures give an artistic touch to any photograph. Try and look for interesting ways to create textures that can give the viewer a sense of “touch & feel” while looking at the photo.
Sometimes, a certain element in the foreground can form a natural frame which engulfs the subject within its boundaries. It could be a window pane, a twisted branch of a tree or even a parapet-like entrance of a cave. You just have to keep an eye out for interesting and unique elements that can create this natural effect and take the picture to the next level.
It is important to use your brains while clicking a photo and implementing the next in the rules of composition. Say you’re clicking a picture of a toy robot. You can always use the depth of field and other effects to capture a great picture. But if you crouch on the floor and point the camera upwards from the robot’s foot, you create an illusion that the little toy robot is giant, heroic and real in a sense. This illusion you create by simply changing the camera’s position is called perspective. Similarly, you can also make something big look small by placing the camera in the bird’s eye position i.e. directly above the subject. So don’t just stand there, move around!
..But then again, it’s never fun to limit your imagination. So go ahead and be crazy about it! After all, you can have the whole world in your hands if you were creative enough!
#10 Break the Rule
Hey! At the end of the day, you know what they say, “Rules are made to be broken!” Well, same philosophy can be applied to the rules of composition with a positive effect! Sometimes going out of the comfort zone can also spur out some really amazing results. Don’t let the four walls trap you! A sure composition is important but you’re the boss of your own creativity and imagination. Ergo, let loose and just have fun with it and you may surprise yourself!
Go on now! Pick up your camera and start clicking! But keep in mind the above rules, and you will come home as a happy photographer with truly admirable pictures!