Digital cameras and the ever-evolving smartphone camera have made photography an increasingly popular hobby. And in this technological age, Google and YouTube have made it easier than ever to learn about photography. Having so many resources at your fingertips make it less daunting to jump into a new hobby!
Composition, by definition, means combining parts or elements to make a whole. In photography, composition essentially means looking through your lens and asking, “What am I looking for? What story am I trying to tell?” You can tell a story through any picture and strong composition will help you communicate your story.
I want to share just a few elements of composition that can help you create compelling images.
1. Rule of Thirds
Imagine your viewfinder has lines running through it – two vertical and two horizontal – dividing it into nine parts. The intersections are called ‘power positions’ and are strong positions for your subject.
Your subject or the elements within your picture can also be aligned with the vertical or horizontal lines of the grid.
This can be especially helpful if you are photographing landscapes. Your horizon line will look best along either the lower or upper horizontal third line, rather than right in the middle of your picture.
There are mainly two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Symmetrical balance is when both sides of your picture are virtually the same. This type of balance has a lot of structure and stability in the composition.
Asymmetrical balance is when your picture is not exactly the same but shapes and colors within the composition are weighted equally on both sides. This type of balance is a bit more dynamic than perfect symmetry.
3. Negative space
Remember that your subject does not always need to take up the entire frame. Using negative, or empty, space can emphasize the subject.
Give your subject room to breathe, particularly in portraits. In this example, the baby is looking off-camera so I composed the picture to give him ‘room’ to look.
Here, the dark shape of the eagle gives a strong contrast to the empty sky. The openness of the sky highlights the eagle.
There is much more to be said about composition and other elements that I could have included. However, my goal was not to overload or confuse you but to give you a few tips to remember. The best way to learn more about photography is by doing – so get your camera (or smartphone!) out and have fun shooting!
As always, please let me know if you have questions!