There are many techniques you can use when it comes to composition. You may remember that we previously released a blog on composition that offers the basic techniques that every photographer should consider. In this blog, we will be discussing more composition techniques so you can take your photos to the next level!
Need to jog your memory a bit? Composition is the way the individual elements in an image combine to form the final photo.
We discussed leading lines in our previous blog. Leading lines help the viewer focus on the important elements of the photo, and usually lead you to the subject.
Diagonal lines and triangles can add more tension and dramatization to the image. These are not as obvious as vertical and horizontal lines but can really add impact. If you focus on elements that create triangles or highlight different angles in the foreground, midground, and background of your photo, you will find your image has more depth.
Patterns & Texture
Patterns and textures are another way to play with composition in your image. The human eye is drawn to patterns. Having patterns in your image adds complexity to the image as it presents multiple focal points – you can look at individual aspects as well as a whole. As you can see in the image above, we have the patterns of the tiles combined with the texture of the fountain making this photo appealing to the viewer.
Rule of Odds
In our previous blog we discussed the rule of thirds, but have you heard of the rule of odds? The rule of odds states that an odd number of subjects is more appealing to the eye than an even number of subjects. This is not a strict rule, but when it can be done it can give your image more depth and complexity.
Leave Negative Space
Leaving negative space can make a statement in your photo or make a statement of your subject. It can also add more focus to the subject in your photo. Leaving negative space can also give your photo a minimalist or simplistic vibe. It can involve leaving physical space for the subject or it could involve taking a macro photo with a blurred background. To put it simply, leaving negative space can help you make the subject of the photo the most prominent aspect.
Referencing a color wheel can be useful when it comes to photography. Many artists utilize a color wheel to know which colors go best together. When taking a photo, you can reference the wheel to see the best complimentary colors for each other to create a more eye-pleasing image. You can also use a monochrome technique where you take one color and use different shades within that color range to give your photo a more intriguing look.
Rule of Space
The rule of space in photography refers to the amount of space an object or subject has. The rule of space also incorporates going from left to right. This applies particularly if you speak a language that is read from left to right, like English. You might find an image makes more sense if it is composed with left to right in mind. For example, if you take a photo of a car that looks to be going on a road trip, you would want the car to be on the left-hand side and have more open space on the right-hand side so you can visualize that they are going somewhere in the distance and that they are about to take off and drive. If a photo was going right to left, it could feel more like a moment is passing or someone is going backward.
We discussed the rule of thirds in our previous blog. Now we will discuss balance. Using the rule of thirds, it may seem that your photo isn’t balanced or is off-center. How you can balance this is to have the subject as the focus and a second smaller subject in the background to create balance. Take a look at the image above. You have one car in the foreground that is the focused subject and then a second car in the background creating a sense of balance in the photo.
Juxtaposition is commonly used in photography. Juxtaposition relates to having two or more subjects in a photo that compare well together or contrast in a situation. It is similar to telling two different stories. In the photo above, you have a park in the foreground that is full of nature, trees, and grass, etc. To contrast this, you have the cityscape of Toronto in the background, creating juxtaposition.
The golden triangle is also like the rule of thirds that we discussed in a previous blog. The golden triangle involves splitting the photo into triangles (or using diagonal lines) and having a focal point in each triangle. Using this method can create dynamic tension and help the photographer position the elements in the photo. Trying to create a golden triangle within your image can create some very bold, enticing images.
The golden ratio is another play on the rule of thirds. This one is more complex than the rule of thirds or the golden triangle. Now there are many ways to explain the rule of thirds, but we are going to stick to the simplest way to explain it. First, you split the photo into a “phi grid” a phi grid refers to three boxes, one large and two smalls. You then add a “Fibonacci Spiral” which refers to the spiral shape on the image. If you have the busiest part of your image in the center of the spiral and then having that dissipate as the spiral gets bigger you will create the golden ratio. Having these two elements on top of each other gives your photo direction and leading lines.
We hope that you enjoyed this more comprehensive look at composition techniques. Have any other techniques that you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments!
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