Elements of Photography
Before diving into the techniques, it’s essential to learn about the seven elements of photography. They are: Line, color, shape, form (in terms of dimensionality through shadows and light), texture, tone, and space. Placing or balancing these elements in your image in a specific way could help you enhance the visual appeal of your pictures.
Suggested Read: A Guide To Wedding Photography Camera Settings
Photography Composition Techniques to Create Incredible Images
1. Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the basic techniques of photography composition. To apply it in your photos, all you need to do is use two horizontal and two vertical lines to divide your camera screen into nine equally spaced sections. Then, place your subject or the most important object on one of the lines or an intersection. To make it more interesting, you can place your subject a third of the way into the photo. This will mean placing your subject off-center, which can sometimes look more appealing than putting your subject at the center. These days, some cameras and phones offer the rule of thirds grid overlay option.
Related Read: Creating Dynamic Photos Using The Rule Of Thirds
2. Golden Rule
The golden rule or the golden ratio is considered an aesthetic concept in photography and is a little different from the rule of thirds in terms of balancing elements. While the rule of thirds divides the frame in a ratio of 1:1:1, the golden rule does it in a ratio of 1:1.618, resulting in positioning the subject closer to the center. It was mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci who had noticed that this ratio was easily and frequently found in nature and is pleasing to the human eye. This ratio is considered to be a golden number and has been used by artists for centuries.
3. Leading Lines & Shapes
The human eye is unconsciously drawn along lines, and our brain looks for shapes automatically. Therefore, you could strategically position lines or shapes in your shots in ways that attract your viewer’s attention. If your line doesn’t lead your viewer to something or someone in your frame, you could move things around to create a better composition. Your line can be straight, diagonal, curvy, radial, or zigzag.
When you compose your shots, you could consider structures in the scene to serve as natural frames for your subject. Mountains, bridges, tree arches, windows, doors, and even construction pipes can become a frame for your subject. Depending on the pose, your subject’s hands or arms could also create a frame for them. This technique could help make your image look soothing, clean, and simple yet attractive to the viewer. This composition trick is also known as frame-within-a-frame. Another framing technique is filling your whole frame with your subject. This will help viewers enjoy the details of your subject.
5. Symmetry & Asymmetry
Creating symmetry in your shot can simply mean that both sides of your subject look similar to each other. Just like framing, you can find symmetry and patterns in nature. These can make for some eye-catching and soothing compositions. You can also manually create symmetry in your shots, for example, by pulling a chair and placing it by your subject’s side or posing your main subject at the center with others at an equal distance from them. However, to create interest and add a unique touch to your image, you can choose to break the pattern or symmetry.
6. Depth of Field
If you want to create an image with some blurred areas or want your image to have a sharp focus, then the depth of field photography composition technique can help. You can adjust the depth of field in your image by changing your camera aperture, camera-subject distance, focal length, and sensor size of your camera. A shallow or narrow depth of field will allow you to focus on your subject while blurring the background, whereas a deep or wide depth of field will let you get your entire image in sharp focus.
7. Point of View
A photographer can capture the same scene on their camera from different points of view. Besides the elements in your image, your point of view or viewpoint could also have a massive impact on how your viewer will perceive the image and the kind of emotions they will experience while looking at it. So, instead of just photographing a scene from your eye level, you could consider shooting from a bird’s eye-view or lie down on the ground to capture the scene from below. You can also take an image from the sides, and if possible, you could also try out some drone photography to get gorgeous shots and capture the scene in its entirety.
8. Negative Space
This photography composition technique is the opposite of the fill-your-frame trick. Negative space is the empty area in your image. This empty area and the minimalist nature of this photography composition technique helps to instantly draw your viewer’s attention to your subject. So, in a way, leaving empty space around your subject or between your subjects gives them the room to shine. It helps cut out any distractions and creates a sense of simplicity.
The way you compose your images significantly impacts the final result and also how your viewers perceive them. Knowing what to focus on, where to place your subjects, and how to capture them in a way that invokes the desired reaction could help you hone your photography skills – as a beginner and for the rest of your career too. Like many other skills, you will learn to perfect in your journey as a wedding photographer, nailing photography composition techniques is also a trial and error process. Once you’ve practiced enough, it will become easier to compose your photos and perhaps even break the ‘photography rules’ to capture images that are solely guided by your own creative direction.
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