Photography composition, like any art composition, depends on individual preference. Nevertheless, there are some rules which may be a great help to photographers. Having said that, rules are, in my opinion, something which you have to work with well, get comfortable with, and then try to go beyond (i.e., break them).
What I’d like to share here is not a list of textbook based rules of photography composition; instead, I’d like to share how to get creative around the basic rules to get amazing photos.
1. The rule of thirds is still important. When you want to play around with photography composition, the basic foundation you should be comfortable with is the rule of thirds. This is simply where the viewer’s eyes go when they see your images.
2. Move away from common angles. An image of flowers taken from the side is boring. Try to take it from a lower angle and capture the blue sky along with the flowers. Not only is the color combination more attractive to the eyes, but the impact of low angle strengthens the effect of the flowers.
3. Simpler is stronger. Keep your image simple. Simple images leave stronger impressions on the viewer. Also consider that sometimes a background is not necessary. Filling the frame fully with the main object can be an alternative.
4. Synergize. Reduce and eliminate elements that don’t support your main subject in the image. Composition is all about choosing angles that get rid of unnecessary objects and enhance your image.
5. Check and recheck your composition. You have to be quite a detail-oriented person when dealing with photography composition. Minor details, many times subtle, can damage or reduce the message you want to deliver.
6. Practice makes perfect. No matter how talented you are, the rule of thumb is that repetition is the mother of all skills. Take as many photos as you can. Learn from your experience to sharpen your instinct and improve your composition skills. The only way to gain the ability to produce high class images is through hours and hours of practice. I do hope you really like taking photos, or otherwise this process will be painful.
7. Learn from other people’s experience. I get inspired to explore the possibilities of composition by simply looking at other photographers’ work. In my early days in photography, I only shot pictures from eye level, and I put everything in the middle of the frame. Looking at pictures online really helped me to gain ideas and tap into a new paradigm of photography composition.
While composition has a lot of rules to it, it is still an art. There is no right or wrong in art. The only burden you have is the limit that you set for yourself. Keep exploring the possibilities to improve your photography.
Good luck and have fun!
About the Author:
Gde Putra is a hobby photographer who hopes to grow the love of nature among all people through his images.
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