Photography: The Rules Of Composition
Photography: The Rules Of Composition
When taking great, professional looking photographs, composition is key. Learn the rules of composition with VideoJug's help, and you'll soon be creating the perfect pictures.
Step 1: Keep it simple
Put simply, composition is the art of making things look right. The visual language used is ancient and its principles can be seen in everything from classical architecture to blockbuster movies. There are Five basic rules to keep in mind when lining up or editing your photograph. That may sound complicated, but once you understand the principles involved you'll find that you start following them instinctively.
Step 2: The rule of Thirds
Nothing will dilute the impact of your pictures more than clutter.
Have a look at this picture. What is it of? Our eye is certainly drawn to the fountain, but the clutter around it is distracting.
Think about what your picture is OF - and then change your position or reposition your shot to make that the most prominent part of the picture. If necessary, get closer to your subject so it fills the frame and dominates what's around it.
Notice how in films and television, the most emotional moments of the story are mostly shot in close-up, as visual proximity to a human face instinctively makes us feel closer to that person. This is a tool you can use to not only effectively frame you picture, but also lend it more emotional prominence, particularly if you're photographing people.
Step 3: Balance
So although simplicity is important, simply centring your subject in the centre of the frame gives a very static, formal look to the picture. While this may be fine for certain subjects, you'll usually want to add more dynamism to your pictures.
Imagine your rectangular frame is divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally. Where these sections intersect are the optimum places for placing the focus of your picture to compose a pleasing image.
Which intersection you choose to place the important part of your picture on is up to you, but realize that if you are shooting a moving object it helps to give them room to move to in the picture, which means putting more space in front of them than behind.
Naturally, this rule can be subverted to create a narrative - in this case impression that they are soon to come to a halt or walk out of the picture.
Horizontal lines such as lampposts and trees and horizontals like the horizon should also be placed on the divisions of the thirds, rather than in the centre of the picture.
Step 4: Framing
Balance is a hard concept to explain. Basically, it's about preventing an image looking lopsided.
This can mean balancing a picture of one person by including another, incidental character.
Or framing the shot so the focus of your picture is balanced by another, complimentary object.
You'll just have to judge what feels "right" in the image, but it might help to imagine a pair of scales in your pictures. Where you have a concentration of colour, objects or light on one side of the picture, try and put a contrasting or complimentary setup on the opposite side of the picture to balance it out.
Balance can also be demonstrated by it's absence; deliberate unbalance gives the impression of movement, like the train has just nipped past this sign...
Step 5: Placing
Framing is the act of placing a person or object in the foreground of your subject to give depth and add interest. Consider using part of the surroundings if you are photographing a person, or placing people in a landscape photograph to give a sense of scale.
When photographing a subject, try to avoid overlaps of colour between your subject and the background or elements of the background protruding "out" of your subject. This looks at best distracting and at worst plain stupid. It's happens because we perceive the world in three dimensions and inevitably focus only on what's in front of us, while photography flattens that world - bringing the tree we hadn't noticed several feet away directly into our image.
Pay close attention to the viewfinder on your cam