Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Photography with Jessica - Composition Part 1

Now that we've covered a lot of the basic technical elements, I'd like to begin a series of posts about the more creative side of photography! How a photo is artistically put together is often referred to as composition. Today I'll be introducing you to three different elements of composition. Don't think of these as absolute rules that you must follow every time. I like to think of them as ingredients you can use to make a good picture, and you're going to want some variety! Just as a good chef wouldn't just use one single ingredient all the time, no matter how delicious it may be, a photographer should try many different compositional ingredients and combine them in new ways. And once you know these guidelines, it's even ok to break them if you have something else in mind! But they are here for you to help you to enrich and diversify your photography.

Filling the Frame

This simply means getting in CLOSE to your subject so that all other distractions are out of the frame and your subject can really shine! You can either physically move closer to your subject or use your lens' zoom to get right in there. This technique isolates the subject for more impact. This can also be achieved later by cropping your image.

Rule of Thirds

For the rule of thirds, picture a grid (like a tic-tac-toe game) over your frame. You will place your main point of interest at one of the places where the lines intersect, and any strong vertical or horizontal lines in the picture (such as the horizon) will line up with one of the lines.


This is kind of the opposite of the rule of thirds. If an image is composed with symmetry, there is an imaginary line dividing down the middle (it can be vertical or horizontal) and the two halves look very similar to each other, almost like mirror images.

A symmetrical photo is balanced, but a photo doesn't have to be symmetrical in order to have balance. It simply means that the two sides of a photo each have something to balance out the other.

So have some fun playing with these compositional elements, and next time I'll introduce you to even more!