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Mastering the Art of Composition in Photography – Golden Rules

Composition in photography is responsible for the integrity of a shot, and it relates the elements of photography to each other and the artist’s idea.
The compositional solution in fine art is secondary to the creative task of the author. First of all, the photographer asks himself, “What am I seeing? What is the purpose of this photograph? How do I convey the idea to the person?” And only then does the author decide how to use such basic elements of frame composition as space, lines, shapes or figures, movement and rhythm, textures, light, color, and point of focus. Through this, the photographer can draw attention to the critical objects in the picture, the “secondary elements”. The language of composition is a set of many rules for telling a story on a canvas, but let us talk about just the most important ones.

The Rule of “Golden Ratio” – the Rule of Thirds in Photography

It is known that rule of thirds in photography was described mathematically by the great Leonardo da Vinci. You might have heard about this rule back in school in math class. Also, it can be written as – rule of 3.

1. The Golden Ratio (Leonardo da Vinci)

The golden ratio is a division of segment C in which the whole of segment C is related to the more significant part of B, the larger part of B is related to the minor part of A. The formula for this expression is C: B = B: A = 1.618. The ratio is 1.618. This number is also called the “golden number. Luca Pacioli, a contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, called this ratio “the divine proportion”.

The term “golden ratio” was introduced by Martin Ohm in 1835. This transfers to the photographic plane. In the viewfinder of cameras, we see this grid.

On this grid’s intersection points and lines, it is customary to place important objects or lines of the image for photography. For instance, align the horizon line with the bottom grid line to emphasize the sky. Like in this photo with the lone pine tree on top of Demerdzhi…

Composition in photography examples:

tree

Position the hero of your subject (a tree, a person, a flower, a building) at one of the four active points of the grid of thirds. Using the rule of thirds, you will be able to focus on important objects in the frame.

2. Format Rule

Will the next frame be horizontal or vertical? Decide this before you press the button. The format of the frame will determine the subject. If a picture of a tall tree or a full-length man, turn the camera vertically. Often photos are in standard formats, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, such as landscape or horizontal format.

But the format can be anything: square, round, triangular, and even arbitrary, irregularly shaped. Format carries information about the boundaries of the image, as well as semantic meaning. Walking among the skyscrapers, the focus would be to show the viewer height. Choosing a narrow, vertical, non-standard format, will enhance the perception of the building.

Or, for instance, the format of a square. It is a very static shape. The square often encloses still lifes. Not only do still life subjects act soothingly, but the square format also enhances the sense of peace and stability. Always consider what format suits the subject.

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