Bite Size Tips: 3 Composition Rules Many Photographers Don’t Know

By Dahlia Ambrose / October 12, 2017

Composition is a way to guide the viewer through the photograph to the subject of interest. There are no composition “rules” in photography but “guidelines” to create compelling images. These guidelines can improve the way you compose an image and help to create a balance between the elements in the frame.

Once you become familiar with these rules, you can either use them in your compositions or just break them to create your own style.

Most of you will be aware of the composition rules like the rule of thirds, leading lines, textures, symmetry and patterns, vantage points, depth, s curves, negative space, etc.

Here Are Three Composition Rules Many Photographers Do Not Know

1. Golden ratio or the Golden Spiral: The golden ratio is a spiral or a grid that helps create a perfect balance between the elements in the frame and makes the composition very pleasing to the human eye. If you are using the phi grid, place elements at one of the intersections of the lines. If you are using the spiral, place the element (point of interest) in the smallest part of the spiral.

Note: The phi grid is slightly different from the rule of thirds grid. The lines are spaced differently in the phi grid and allow for slightly different compositions.

Golden Spiral – The eye of the dog is placed in the smallest part of the spiral for a powerful composition

Image by Marcin Milewski

Golden Spiral – The lighthouse is placed at the smallest part of the spiral to create a more compelling composition.

Image by DaBrick

Phi Grid – The eye of the dog is placed at the point where the lines in the grid intersect.

Image by Marcin Milewski

2. Diagonals: When composing the image, especially in architecture and landscape photography or any photography that includes some form of lines, look for some diagonals to compose your image. It can make the image look more dynamic and create a strong impact for the viewer.

Image by Wgbieber

Image by Xusenru

3. Rule of Odds: According to this rule, if you are going to place more than one subject in the frame, the composition will be visually appealing if you place odd number of subjects. Do not use 2, but use, 3, 5 or 7. This is not always possible when shooting engagements, weddings or couples, but is something that can be used while composing images out of this situation.

Image from Pixabay by Nasalune

Composition is undeniably the most important part of photography to create visually compelling images. If you want to learn composition in depth, you should check out Advanced Composition by Photzy.


About the author

Dahlia Ambrose

Dahlia is one of the staff writers at Light Stalking and besides writing, she also responds to customer queries, schedules social media posts and helps with product development. She has been around seven years since she took up photography seriously and her main interests are travel photography and photographing the night sky. Some of her works can be seen on 500px and Instagram. She has a postgraduate research degree in Physics, a certificate in teaching, and a diploma in business administration and customer service. Her work experiences are varied from lecturing in science and engineering at colleges in India to working in various roles for retailers  and the local authority in the UK. She is now pursuing her passion for travel and photography where she spends a couple of months on each country she visits.

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