Photographic Composition Handout

Photographic Composition
Composition-An arrangement of forms, lines and elements in a picture design.
*Notice the connection with the rules of art (elements end principles)!
Six Ideas for Good Composition: Unity
1) Simplicity
2) Rules of Thirds
3) Line
4) Balance
5) Framing
6) Mergers
1) Simplicity: Emphasis
-Keep your subject the center of interest.
-Give the picture the most visual attention with uncomplicated backgrounds.
-Concentrate one subject at a time.
-Change your point of view from another angle or move in closer.
2) Rules of Thirds: Space
-Place verticals off center.
-Place horizontals above or below the center of the picture.
-Consider a path for a moving object so they aren’t moving out of the picture.
3) Line:
-Create a path for viewer’s attention, such as diagonal lines as “Leading Lines”
-Repeating lines draw you attention to the main subject. (Rhythm)
-A triangle or shape adds strong visual unity to a picture.
-Curved lines create a peaceful and relaxed feeling.
4) Balance:
-An arrangement of color, shapes, dark and light areas (value) in a complementary way
adds to a well balanced picture.
-Asymmetrical balance is more interesting to look at.
-Symmetrical balance tends to divide the viewers attention.
-Formal and informal poses are good balance.
5) Framing:
-Framing objects in the foreground (space) gives the picture depth. Form
-Trees and objects are used to frame the center of interest. (Proportion)
6) Mergers:
-Border Mergers always leave space around the figures; don’t cut them at the hands and
-Near Mergers, objects close together steal attention from the main subject.