Composition refers to the way a photo is constructed/planned to make the biggest possible impact.
Composition rules are ingredients that a photographer may use, but just like a chef wouldn’t use all of the ingredients in his pantry in one meal, a photographer won’t use every composition skill in one photograph.
9 Rules of Composition
- Rule of Thirds: If you divide your picture into a tic-tac-toe board, your subject should not be located in the center square. It should be off center to draw attention.
- Repetition: A repeating pattern works well to emphasize your subject. A little bit of variance (changing it up) within the repetition is even better.
- Worm’s Eye View: Shot from directly above.
- Bird’s Eye View: Shot from very low to the ground.
- Fill the Frame: Photo has a strong, dominant focal point and/or center of interest. Keep your background simple to avoid distractions.
- Framing: Use natural elements to create a frame for your photo, so your audience knows exactly what your focus is.
- Leading Lines: Lines in a photo direct a viewer’s focus to the photo’s subject.
- Selective Focus: When a photographer narrows a picture’s depth of field so that only part of the picture is in focus.
A journalistic photo must also tell a compelling story.