Photography Composition Elements & Principles

Composition determines how you lay a picture out and how you place objects within the scene to get the most aesthetically pleasing results. It’s perhaps the most important aspect of photography. How you compose your images determines how meaningful they are. Your gear, lighting, editing, and everything else becomes secondary. In this insightful video, photographer Karl Taylor elaborates on some composition techniques you can use to improve your photography:

Taylor talks about quite a variety of techniques that you can use for composing your images better. To start, there’s the trusty old “rule of thirds”. Using this technique, you can place your subject(s) along the one third line, or at their point of intersection. This adds emphasis to the subjects and the viewers are naturally drawn to these points.

However, it’s not essential that you always follow the rule of thirds. In symmetrical scenes, try placing your subject dead center. Also see how you can include leading lines to guide the viewers into the scene. If you want to go a step further, explore how you can mix symmetry with off-symmetry to counter balance the image and make it more compelling.

An interesting composition technique that Taylor demonstrates is how you can juxtapose visually appealing colors to make the subjects pop. Doing so excites our visual system and instantly draws attention. You can see this technique being used in a lot of marketing campaigns to draw attention to the product being promoted.

“Often, composition is a case of going with your instinct on what feels right. While some people have a more natural ability at identifying good composition, it is still something you can learn. The most important objective is to keep your viewer connected to your image.”

What other composition techniques do you use to make your images better?

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