What would you need to master the composition techniques in photography that will improve your photos?
Well, just a sight to see a scene and a question to ask yourself
“How do I uniquely click this?”
It is not like you will be able to try each photography composition technique in one day. But once you learn about them, you will start seeing a pattern among the trending posts on Instagram or the cover of a publication.
All the composition techniques in photography that you’ll be learning are not the “rules” but are mere guidelines. These are used by professionals and can surely help you improve your photos when you are looking to find something new.
Here we are sharing a total of 24 composition techniques in photography that you can use to improve photos.
In this article:
- What are Composition Techniques in Photography?
- 24 Trending Composition Techniques In Photography 2023
- Rule of Third
- Centered & symmetry
- Frame within frame
- Leading lines
- Diagonal triangles
- Rules of odds
- Rule of space
- Left-to-right rule
- Golden Triangle
- Golden ratio
- Pattern and texture
- Foreground and interest
- Fill the frame
- Negative space
- Change perspective
- Color contrasting
- Balance elements
- Familiarity of scale
- Show of motion
- Go all In
- Special Note
What are Composition Techniques in Photography?
Composition techniques in photography are the ways to arrange the elements in the frame to enhance how the whole picture looks. These techniques are used in almost every visual art across the industry to make the entire structure more appealing.
If we talk specifically about photography and photo editing, it is the way you set the subject in a frame to improve the overall visual. This can either be carefully executed while capturing an image or edited in post-production by cropping, rotating, and tilting it.
I would highly suggest you keep these techniques in your mind while capturing an image itself, as it would eliminate the restrictions in post-production. Now that you are all set with the basics, here are 24 trending composition techniques in photography that will improve your photos.
24 Trending Composition Techniques In Photography 2023
1. Rule of thirds
Let us start with the most popular “rule”, The rule of third. First, divide the frame into 9 sections with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines. This will create four intersection points. To follow the rule of thirds, place your main subject on any given intersection.
The rule is so easy, popular, and effective that nowadays, you can get the following grid live on your cameras to frame the subject right. As you can see in the next image by Eyrejune123 the swing is very much placed at the exact point of the intersection of the lines.
Usually, we tend to place objects in the center, but the following rule terminates the point and shows how sticking to a grid can help you learn new composition techniques to improve your photos.
2. Centered & symmetry
Next on the list of the best photography composition techniques is the Centered composition and symmetry. Unapologetically this technique contradicts the first rule. Well, as I said, these aren’t the rules but rather guidelines that you choose to follow or not.
This technique improves your photo because the human brain is attracted to symmetry, as it is easy to understand in the first place. So next time when you
If you are looking to capture some great images, keep the following guidelines in mind.
Moreover, I would request you see how Provlinder has perfectly found symmetry vertically and horizontally. It will be fine if you can’t find both, but at least try looking for one in your images.
3. Frame within a frame
Framing is another popular composition technique in photography used by professionals to get the audience’s focus. Well, to help you understand, here is an image by Chuttersnap.
As you can see, the image has its own frame and brings our attention to the red wall. Also, you do not need to have an exact shape like the above image. Instead, you can even have an uneven shape peeking to another view, just the image below by Liammckay. This cave opening has framed the ocean and rock ahead.
4. Leading lines
This is among the composition techniques which is even used by architects to design their respective projects. With this technique, Onun has captured this amazing scenic view.
As you shall see, the road, horizon, and even the mountains end at a commonplace. And to be very accurate, even the eyes are leading in that particular direction.
This need not always be as simple as shown in the above image as the lines can also be curvily coming from all directions. But the meeting point of each one of them would be the same.
5. Diagonal triangle
In the above image by Stayandroam, you can see some leading lines. But in addition to these lines, there is also a triangle, capturing our attention.
Human eyes have this weird obsession with lines not straight (diagonal lines ) and the shape triangle. Hence if you can get them in your image, chances are you are becoming a professional in composition techniques.
6. Rules of odds
Ever heard “Odd one out!”? This one is slightly different. In the following image by Stayandroam itself, you can find that the very left chimney is at an odd distance compared to the other two.
This is a complete condition of the symmetry, but the image is eye-capturing because it’s different. Hence making it to our list of best composition techniques that will improve your photos.
7. Rule of space
The rule of space states that you shall frame your subject in a way that shows the direction in which it is looking or moving. It is a composition technique you can use to improve your photos, just like Mitchel3uo did.
As you can see, the subject is on the right-hand side, and a space is left in the direction where he is looking. So what do you think where is he moving towards? Towards the left. But also remember that not just moving, you may also show the space/side where the subject is looking.
8. Left-to-right rule
In addition to the space rule, you may also follow the left-to-right rule. Thankfully this isn’t a contradiction like other composition techniques in photography but is actually an add-on.
Our eyes typically go left to right. To follow up on this normal human tendency, you shall also look for the subject that is looking, going, or leading from left to right, just as Charlie did in the image above.
9. Golden triangle
You have already learned in the above composition techniques that our eyes are dynamically attracted to diagonals and triangles. When we talk about the Golden triangle, we will revise everything again.
The hills are forming triangles if you observe closely in the image above, captured by Samuel. Let me draw these lines very clearly.
Now in the image, you can see the formation of triangles. I have just drawn a diagonal line in between and two perpendiculars from either side, which is simplistically known as Golden Triangle.
10. Golden ratio
This is among the type of composition techniques in photography which is very hard to explain. But if you crack the formula to this, you will capture some great images as Vlad Chernolyasov did in the above image. The golden ratio goes like this.
You can remember the golden ratio as an advanced version of the rule of thirds. In this, the subject is placed at an ideal place where the spiral ends. And the other half of the frame has a significant issue filling in the frame.
You shall also remember that the Golden ratio can be formed in any direction and orientation. Just one thing to remember is that the subject must be at the spiral’s closing/ contracting arm.
11. Pattern and texture
All the composition techniques in photography are regular guides to understanding how you see the world. We look for patterns and textures daily but rarely focus on them. But as a photographer, you must capture them to showcase them to the world.
As you shall in the above image by Moisessantana, the cracks on the earth have given a texture, and light has made this view photogenic.
On the other hand, Ptrpl4 captured this oddly attractive pattern and led our eyes to the center and the shoes.
12. Foreground and interest
As we have said, photography composition techniques are how we humans view a site or an object in our daily life. Now in the following technique, you shall keep the focus on the thing that is closer, blurring out the background completely.
It shows a perspective and even leads our eye to a new and distinctive subject.
13. Fill the frame
Again, this completely contradicts most of the composition techniques in photography we just discussed. But in my defense, everything is worth it if you can get that perfect shot. As the name suggests, you shall fill the frame entirely with the subject itself in the following composition technique.
You shall also ensure that the image you capture is high-quality and has visible details. As you can see in the image above by Martz90, the beast is fully framed, and the facts are highly visible.
14. Negative space
In the following image by Panguiny, there is a lot of space left in the frame. Well, this is a negative space composition technique. Out of all composition techniques in photography, it is the easiest to identify a method where you leave a lot of blank space in the frame.
There is no reason for this particular style, but lately, it has been very appealing and hence popular in the community of photographers.
With the new trends of minimalism and simplicity booming worldwide, new composition techniques have also started rolling in. The aim was simple.
Bring simplicity to the frame, which is uplifted by the subject’s quality and details. In the above image by Zarakvg, the simply placed with half-filled coffee and vapors accumulating over it. Simple yet impactful.
The trend of capturing a single subject might not be as new but it is effective today. In the above image by Ciabattespugnose, the subject (dog) is placed with nothing behind or in front. This keeps our eye on the subject and lets you show off the details.
17. Change Perspective
In all the above composition techniques in photography, we have discussed capturing things that the human eye typically sees. Now it’s time you elevate your perspective and show the world what they don’t.
In the above image, Hendrimotography chooses to show the dome from an aerial view. But this isn’t just always the case. You shall find new angles and perspectives to image and show what every other person is leaving out.
18. Color contrasting
Color contrasting is another among the best composition techniques that will improve your photos quickly. The reason is simple. Contrasting color makes it easy for the eyes to differentiate. And well, if you are unaware, our brain likes what’s easy.
So next time you are out looking for something new and funky, go out to fetch contrasting colors, and you may even get a great image as Gierschv did above.
19. Balance Elements
After going through some simple composition techniques in photography, now let us just switch to a complex one. In the above image by Viajeenparacaidas, you can easily see a balance in the frame itself. If you know the man closer in the frame, it is being elevated in the field of vision by the man farther away.
This also shows that the frame is complete and the difference in the vision.
Above, you have already gone through the contradiction of colors. Taking this a step further, juxtaposition is a composition technique with contrasting elements or subjects in a single frame, complementing each other.
Dimeloper beautifully shows the use of this above in the image above where land and ocean are meeting, creating a picture-perfect scene. Again, this contradiction shall always be visible, but superficial pattern contradictions captured beautifully can also make your day.
21. Familiarity Of Scale
Comparison is the human sight that judges the entire image. To make this happen Winggo has depicted this excellent composition technique where the size of the rock is easily magnified when our brain compares it to the human standing over it.
Hence when you wish to amplify the size -small or big- place a familiar object in the frame.
Just like pattern and texture, repetition is more straightforward for our brain to see. Hence, showing repetitive patterns is among photographers’ most pleasing composition techniques worldwide. To depict this, you shall see the above image by Eskandthewood.
23. Show Of Motion
As of now, I am sure that you know we capture the moments that the human eye sees but ignores in all the above composition techniques. One such thing is motion too. In the above image by Dimonblr, the cyclist’s movement has enhanced the view. Moreover, the standing cyclist look might have made the frame a bit fake, but the motion blur has given it authenticity.
24. Go All In
Lastly, the essential composition technique would be capturing those small yet precise frames. The best way would be by zooming in to the subject and showing what truly matters. Above is another great example by dimonblr itself.
The golden triangle, rule of third, pattern, textures, and all those mentioned above are some excellent composition techniques that can improve your photos drastically. I would also like to remind you that these aren’t the rules that bind you. Instead, these guidelines can help you find new angles and features for your image. We highly recommend reading this article, How to Start a Photography Business.
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