9 Compositions To Try

1) Rule of Thirds

The most basic composition rule involves dividing the frame into 9 squares. The points where these squares intersect are where the subject goes. The middle horizontal lines can also be used to place the subject.

2) The Golden Triangle

This sort of builds upon the rule of thirds. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Then, pick one side and draw another line coming out of the middle points. Finally, fill two of the triangles up with the subject, following the longest diagonal line.

3) The Golden Spiral

The golden spiral has roots in geometry that I can barely understand. What makes the golden spiral so attractive is natural balance. Examples of the golden spiral can be found in seashells, a rose, hurricanes, and even spiral galaxies. It can take quite a bit of practice to start applying the golden spiral into your photos, but for starters you can simply apply what’s called the Phi Grid. Instead of 9 equal squares, this grid applies the golden ratio formula to divide the lines into what some believe creates a more pleasing composition in landscape photography.

The golden spiral is found in many places throughout nature. A few examples are seashells, the human ear, typhoons, and galaxies.

4) Symmetry

We're programmed to look for and desire symmetry. Some of the most obvious examples of symmetry lie in architecture. Practice creating symmetry by shooting some skyscrapers or government buildings. Mirroring is also a great way to generate some symmetry. Try grabbing a nice reflection from the puddles after the next time it rains.

5) Leading Lines

Leading lines are a great way to make use of the foreground (especially if the subject is far away). They guide the viewer through the image. Roads, tiles, trees, and rivers are often key to constructing great leading lines.

6) Negative Space

Think of negative space like plain wrapping paper. When shooting a building, the negative space will be the sky. The subject should ‘cut into the wrapping paper’ in an appealing or interesting way. Think about shapes or letters that can be formed to ‘cut into’ the space.

7) Frame Within A Frame

With composition we’re basically trying to find the best way to tell the viewer where to look. The ‘frame within a frame’ method does that very explicitly. It’s a quick and simple way to say, “Look here!”

8) Pattern/Repetition

It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to know that humans are always on the hunt for patterns. We like things that are consistent and repeat. They makes us feel safe. Stay on the lookout for colors and objects that repeat.

9) Contrast/Proportion

Just as easily as we recognize patterns, we are equally equipped to recognize when something sticks out. This makes for an interesting or funny photo. Try to find abnormally big/small objects, and show how they don’t fit in with the rest of the scene. Look for odd colors that pop out, and use backgrounds to give the viewer an idea of scale in the image.

Keeping these things in mind when shooting will certainly lead to better images. If you find these methods helpful then hop into my Discord and share your work!

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