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Essentials of composition

By: Sapna Reddy

essentials of composition
essentials of composition

1. There are no rules to composition, only tools/guidelines. Using the tool of thirds to place your main subject strengthens the composition.

2. Use structural elements (boulder on right) to anchor your composition.

3. Use accent colors to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the main subject. (fall color leaves in this comp).

4. Layer your composition..there must be a foreground (boulder and leaves), middle ground (turnaround of the river) and background (tree bases). This adds depth to the composition.

5. What you exclude from the composition is as important as what you include. No point in including excessive trees and surrounding woods when the story is about the river. 

6. Use leading lines when possible. Direct viewer's eyes toward your main subject. Here the river flowing forms a leading line to the center of the comp.

7. Create dynamism. Prolonged exposures help to convey the feeling of flow.

8. Check your histogram to make sure you are not clipping your darks or blowing out your highlights.

9. Border patrol. Be sure to check the margins of your comp and exclude or include objects as needed. this is very important for a clean look to the comp.

10. Remember to double check that your focal point is on the main subject of the composition and aperture adjusted based on composition.

Yes..You must think of all points 1-10 before you click the shutter. One of my mentors told me "photograph like you mean it"...and so I do.

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Related Reading

  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Getting Horizon Level in Photography
  3. Using Focal Points in Photography
  4. Framing Your Shots
  5. The Golden Section
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