What all would you need to master the Composition techniques that will improve your photos?
Well just a sight to see a scene and a question to ask yourself
“How do I click this in a distinctive way?”
It is not everyday when you would be able to try all the 24 competition techniques in one frame but you can surely find them in one or the other image that’s been trending on social media, stock sites and well, everywhere.
But before I start with all the interesting stuff, here’s a disclaimer you must remember. Photography is a career where there are no rules until and unless you are getting that mind-blowing shot that’s distinctive yet amazing.
All the composition techniques that I’ll be sharing with you, are not the rules but are the guideline. These are being used by the professionals and can surely help you improve your photos when you are numb with something new.
Also do you know what compositions techniques really are?
What are Composition Techniques?
To keep it simple, Composition techniques are the ways to arrange the elements in frame to enhance the way the overall picture looks. They are used in almost every visual art to make it more appealing.
If we talk specifically about photography and photo editing, it is the way you set the subject in a frame in order to improve your photos. This can either be carefully executed while capturing an image or can be edited in the post-production by cropping and 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 Composition Techniques that will improve your photos.
24 Composition Techniques that will Improve your Photos
1. The Rule of Third
Let us start with the most popular “rule”, The rule of third. According to this, firstly you shall divide the frame in 9 sections with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines. Now you shall place your subject at the points of intersection of the grid only.
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 this image by Eyrejune123 the swing is very much placed at the very exact point of intersection of the lines.
Usually it is our tendency to place objects in center but the following rule terminates the point and shows how sticking to grid can help you learn new composition techniques to improve your photos.
2. Centered Composition & Symmetry
Next on the list of the best composition techniques is the Centered composition and symmetry. Unapologetically this technique is a contradiction to the first rule above. Well as I said, these aren’t the rules rather the guideline that can follow.
The reason why this technique improves your photo is due to the fact that the human brain is attracted to symmetry, as it is easy to understand in the first place. So next time when you
are out looking to capture some great images, keep the following guide in your mind.
Moreover, I would request you to see how Provlinder has perfectly found the symmetry both vertically and horizontally. If you can’t find both it will be fine, but at least try looking for one in your images.
3. Frame Within Frame
Framing is among other popular composition techniques used by professionals to get the focus of the audience. Well to help you understand, here is an image by Chuttersnap.
As you can see, the image has its very own frame and brings our attention to the red wall. Also you do not need to have an exact shape like the above image. Rather you can even have an uneven shape peeking to another view, just 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 are ending at a common place. And to be very true, even the eyes are leading in that particular direction.
This need not be always as simple as shown in the above image as the lines can also be curvy coming from all the directions. But the meeting point of each one of them would be the same.
5. Diagonal Triangles
In the above image by Stayandroam, you can clearly 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 the lines which are 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 too is a complete condition of the symmetry but the image is eye capturing due to the fact it’s different. Hence making it to our list of best compositions 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 a space shows the direction in which it is looking or moving. It is a composition technique that you can use to improve your photos just like Mitchel3uo did.
As you can see that 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 rule of the rule of space you may also follow the left to right rule. Thankfully this isn’t a contradiction like other composition techniques, but is actually an add on.
Our eyes normally go left to right. To follow up this normal human tendency you shall also look for the subject that is looking, going or leading from left to right just like Charlie did in the image above.
9. Golden Triangle
In the above composition techniques you have already learned that our eyes are dynamically attracted to diagonals and triangles. Well when we talk about the Golden triangle, we will be revising everything again.
If you observe closely in the image above, captured by Samuel, the hills are forming triangles. Let me draw these lines very clearly.
Now in the image you can see formation of triangles. I have just drawn a diagonal line in between and two perpendicular from either sides which is simpiclictically known as Golden Triangle.
10. Golden Ratio
Now this is among the hardest composition techniques to explain. But if you crack the formula to this, you would be getting great images like Vlad chernolyasov did in the image above. The golden ratio goes like this
1Y40ou can remember the golden ratio as an advanced version of the rule of third. In this the subject is placed at a definitive place where the spiral ends. And the other half of the frame has a large subject filling in the frame.
You shall also remember the Golden ratio can be formed in any direction and in any orientation. Just one thing to remember that the subject has to be at the closing/ contracting arm of the spiral.
11. Pattern and Texture
All the composition techniques are the normal guides to understand how you see the world. We look for patterns and textures every single day, but rarely focus on them. But as a photographer, you need to 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.
12. Foreground and interest
As we have said, composition techniques are the way we humans view a site or an object in our daily life. Now in the following technique, you shall keep the focus on the object 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 is in complete contradiction to most of the composition techniques we just discussed. But in my defence, everything is worth-it if you can get that perfect shot. As the name suggests, in the following composition technique, you shall fill the frame completely with the subject itself.
You shall also make sure that the image you capture is of high-quality and with visible details. As you can see in the image above by Martz90, the beast is fully framed and also the details 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 it is the most easy to identify technique 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 hence popular in the community of photographers.
With the new trends of minimalist and simplicity booming across the world, new composition techniques also started rolling in. The aim was simple.
Bring in simplicity to the frame, which is uplifted by the quality of and details of the subject. In the above image by Zarakvg, the simply placed with half filled coffee and vapores accumulating over it. Simple yet impactful.
The trend of capturing a single subject might not be as new, but is surely effective till today. The above image by Ciabattespugnose, the subject (dog) is placed with nothing behind or in front. This keeps our eye just on the subject and allows you to show off the details.
17. Change Perspective
Until now in all the above composition techniques we have been discussing capturing things that the human eye normally 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 easily. The reason is simple. Contrasting color makes it easy for eyes to differentiate. And well if you are unaware, our brain likes what’s easy.
So next time when you are out looking for something new and funky, go out to fetch colors that are contrasting and you may even end up getting a great image like Gierschv got above.
19. Balance Elements
After going through some simpler composition techniques, now let us just switch to a complex one. In the above image by Viajeenparacaidas, you can easily see that there is a balance in the frame itself. If you see the man closer in the frame, it is being elevated in the field of vision by the man farther away.
This also depicts that the frame is complete and shows the difference in the vision.
Above you have already gone through the contradiction of colors. Taking this a step further, juxtaposition is composition technique with contrasting elements or subjects in a single frame, complementing each other.
The use of this above is beautifully shown by Dimeloper in the image above where land and ocean are meeting, creating a picture perfect scene. Again, this contradiction shall always be so visible, but simple pattern contradictions captured beautifully can also make your day.
21. Add familiar objects to enhance the scale
Comparison is the human sight that judges the entire image. In order to actually make this happen Winggo has depicted this amazing 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 a simpler thing for our brain to see. Hence showing repetitive patterns is among the finest composition techniques used by photographers all over the world. To depict this, you shall see the above image by eskandthewood.
23. Show of motion
As of now I am sure that you know in all the above composition techniques, we capture the moments that the human eye sees, but ignore. One such thing is motion too. In the above image by dimonblr, the motion of the cyclist 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 very important composition technique would be capturing those small yet precise frames. The best way would be by zooming in to the subject and showing of what truly matters. Above is another great example by dimonblr itself.
The golden triangle, rule of third, pattern, textures and all the above mentioned are some great composition techniques that can improve your photos drastically. Speaking of which, I would also like to remind you that these aren’t the rules that bind you. Rather, these are guidelines that can help find new angles and features to your image. We highly recommended to read this article How to Start a Photography Business.
If you have something extra to share, do comment down below to share it with the community. Moreover, if you are photography enthusiast, don’t forget to sign-up for the free Pixelphant email newsletters to keep yourself updated and aware about trends in photography, Product Photo Editing and eCommerce.