Photo Composition: Seven Tips to Take Better Photos
11 Jun 2021
What is photo composition?
Photo composition is the organization of various elements in the scene within the frame. These aspects can express the photographer’s visualization in a way that is both beautiful and impactful. The invention of the concepts of photo composition is older than the photographic age. The compositions have existed since the pre-renaissance era in paintings.
There is no advanced mathematics in understanding the principles of photo composition. And we are sure you do not aspire to go overboard with all the calculations for taking a picture. All it requires is a simple perception of the scene and aesthetically focus on the subject/subjects.
Here are seven techniques to help you take better photos.
Rule of thirds
This technique has been around for a long time. The photo frame is divided into a 3*3 grid of nine equal rectangles. The subject of the photo is to be placed at the four intersections in the grids. This rule helps to balance out the subject and the background. First, the viewer sees the subject, observes the scene, and finally comes back to the subject. This composition gives importance to the subject and the environment.
The rule of thirds overlay is available in almost all cameras and smartphones. It is widely practiced in landscape photography to capture trees, sculptures, etc., as subjects/references.
Framing the subject
In framing the subject, the position of the camera and the viewer’s perspective are the most important aspects. The way others interpret your photo is influenced by its composition. For example, while capturing a scene, look for natural or artificial frames such as trees, gates, and tunnels. They act as a look-through to the subject.
The aim is to direct the viewer’s attention to the subject by changing the photo’s viewpoint rather than modifying the subject to make it attractive. Various factors affect the photo’s framing, such as white space, depth of field, foreground, background elements, etc.
Balancing elements in the scene
Balancing elements is essential to preserve visual weight. The composition includes blending of other techniques, eventually maintaining equilibrium in the frame. This could also mean balancing the number of subjects in the frame to an even number. For example, a tree twinning a lamppost or including an even number of people balances the frame. Advanced photography includes balancing the color combinations in the frame.
Leading lines in the frame are present to guide the eyes through the photo. The lines can be straight or curved, present or implied. Straight leading lines could be roads, walls, tiles, roofs, skyline, structures, etc. They draw noticeable leads in the frame. Curved leading lines could be a shoreline, curved roads/trails, stripes, color variations, patterns, etc. In simple terms, we could say the lines make the photo less abstract.
Centered composition and symmetry
This composition contradicts the rule of thirds. For certain scenes, the grid intersections might not help. We focus on the subject using the concept of symmetry. Centering the frame shows stability and the importance of the subject. Close-up shots require less effort compared to long shots comprising sceneries. Scenes such as water reflections are part of vertical symmetry, and monuments make horizontal symmetry. We center the objects and click the picture. Even if the frame is in asymmetry, it has to be aesthetically balanced.
Simplicity and minimalism
Include objects which are relevant to the frame and are part of the story you are presenting. Fill the frame with a simple background and subject taking up most of the credit. You are capturing a scene with clear vision. Decide what to include and exclude from the frame, where to place each object, etc. The frame should look uncluttered with almost no distracting elements.
Okay. Not to scare you with mathematics, but a quick briefing of the golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion. It is the ratio of a quantity cut into two portions of different dimensions. The ratio of total quantity to that of the larger quantity is equivalent to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller quantity.
It is a ratio of 1:1.618. The ratio is said to be used since ancient times in art, music, architecture. It is also discovered to be found in nature.
The golden grid(also known as the phi grid) divides the frame in a 1:0.618:1 ratio making smaller rectangles in the middle column. The grid composition is useful in landscape and architecture photography. With the help of the gridlines, we can draw a never-ending spiral resembling a snail’s shell. This is the golden spiral. The spiral composition is used in nature photography like flowers, snails, etc.
In the golden triangle composition, we draw a diagonal in the frame and then drop perpendiculars from the other two corners. The frame is now divided into four triangles of two different sizes. Using these triangles, we can place the subject in one of the triangles or the diagonal lines.
Changing the point of view is a creative way to take photos. We could capture the photo by deviating from the standard human height level. Becoming innovative by clicking pictures from a bird’s view or an ant’s view brings a new perspective even to well-known sceneries.
Photo retouchers use photo composition techniques profoundly for commercial purposes such as automobile retouching and real-estate retouching. If the photographer missed framing picturesquely, retouching helps fix the subjects for a balanced and captivating look. Here are a couple of instances of the application of photo composition in the retouching industry.
- Automobile photography uses a minimalistic and straightforward approach by removing distracting objects, blurring the background, and framing the subject; in this case, the cars.
- Photos of a house’s interiors/exteriors can be clicked using centered subject, symmetry, and fill the frame technique in real-estate photography.
If there are distracting elements in the frame, we crop them out using the clipping path and the Clone Stamp tool.
Photo Retouching Services
Are you new to Photography and Photo Retouching? We at Digi5Studios offer various photo retouching services. We specialize in Product photo retouching, Beauty retouching, Fashion retouching, Automobile photo retouching, Real Estate retouching, and Clipping Path Services.