Composition Rules in Photography

If you are here, we assume that you already have an idea about composition. Yet, do not really understand how to practically compose your image. The composition can indeed be daunting. However, there is no need to worry. We have compiled basic but most used composition rules in photography to get you started. You need to keep these in mind the next time you go for a shoot.

Let’s start with the most important composition rules in photography.

The Rule of Thirds

You will hear a lot about the rule of thirds when you start understanding composition rules in photography. It is one of the most widely used and kind of a sure method of getting a perfect image. Basically, it divides the frame into nine equal parts by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Most cameras also have a setting called ‘Display Grid’ that automatically does that for you. Now, the idea is to place the main subject on one of the lines or even on the intersection of lines.

In landscape photography, this composition rule helps to place the horizon on one of the horizontal lines. This makes the composition of the image very attractive.

Filling the Frame – Composition Rules in Photography

This composition rule is directly opposite to the rule of thirds. In the latter, we place the main subject on the lines. However, in this rule, the frame is fully occupied by the main subject. This is mainly used when we need to get rid of the distractions and keep the focus on the subject. It also highlights the details which might not be possible when shooting from afar. Of course, you will need to get very close to the subject to get a good image. This composition rule in photography is more common in portrait photography.

Leading Lines

Composition Rules in Photography leading lines

Photo edited in Lightroom.

The goal of this composition rule might be self-evident from its name. Basically, we try to find some lines in the scene that might be leading towards our subject. This tends to draw the focus of the viewer towards the main elements or a specific portion of the image. Moreover, the lines need not be straight. Curved lines also add some attractiveness to the image. Also, it might be easy to find lines in urban landscapes. However, you will have to look around in natural places. Rivers and even clouds can be used for this purpose.

Using Focus – Composition Rules in Photography

In this list of composition rules, only this rule might be somewhat broad in meaning. Bear with us while we explain how you can use it to get different compositions. Although, you might have guessed the first use. Using a wide aperture will focus on the main subject while creating a depth of field. This will give your image an artistic feel. Furthermore, it can also be used to isolate some elements of the image to get a dramatic look. Secondly, it can be also used to bring either background or even foreground in focus. However, there’s no hard and fast rule about utilizing the focus. You can play with different settings to get your desired result.

Patterns and Shapes

You must agree with us when we say that patterns generally convey a sense of calmness and coziness to humans. That’s why composing your image such that it incorporates patterns will give it an ethereal feel. Those patterns, however, need not be man-made, natural patterns also look stunning. They can even be floor or road patterns, uniform buildings, and even flowers or mountains in a similar pattern. Other than patterns, this composition rule also deals with shapes. You must look at different objects that combine to form a particular shape. For example, bridges form triangles. It would not be false when we say that photographers love triangle. This is because they add a dynamic tension to the image.

Centered Composition – Composition Rules in Photography

Rules of composition
You might have seen those gorgeous images where the main subject looks majestic in the center of other elements. Symmetry plays a big role in achieving this. It can either a series of street lamps on either side leading up to a subject or even non-related objects converging on a single point. This composition rule in photography incorporates many of the other rules as well. You can also use Leading lines and patterns in harmony with this rule to get a better composition.

Frame within Frames

Just like symmetry, this composition rule also uses a bunch of others. The basic idea is that you use an external object as a frame for your main element. An open gate or a structure is a great example of using this rule. You keep your main subject inside that structure making it a frame within a frame. 

Improving Composition in Post-processing

Sometimes while working on the field, implementing all these rules can be difficult. However, you can always alter the composition to some extent by the help of photo editing software such as Photofilter, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Photoshop and Lightroom are very popular among professionals. Learn to use both of these powerful editing software to give your photos a true professional look.

Conclusion – Composition Rules in Photography

Now that you have gone through the rules, let us give some bonus pointers about these composition rules in photography. You have to remember that these are not hard and fast rules. However, they will definitely up your photography game. Also, these are just a few of the total techniques and principles but these are enough to get started. This article arms you with the basic knowledge. It is up to you now to go out and be creative about your compositions. Nature and even urban landscapes are ripe with stunning scenes. You just have to develop an eye to find and capture them. If you have the eye to see that beauty, you can take stunning photos even from a mobile camera.

If the “Composition Rules in Photography” article has helped you, then Like and Share it with your friends!

Have a nice photoshoot! 

Lightroom and Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop Course
Lightroom Course
Lens Flare Effect
Lightroom & Photoshop Course