So, What is composition and why is it so important. Seeking and finding the answers to these questions and incorporating them into your photography may have a profound affect on the results you obtain as a photographer. Photography is not a hit and miss endeavor. Although it is possible to get lucky occasionally. if you want to take consistently good photographs, you need to understand what makes a photograph good.
If you are new to the world of photography and art in general, how do you frame your subjects when you take a photo? Do you try to center everything and pay little or no attention to the surroundings? If you answered yes, then you will benefit from opening your mind to a different way of thinking about images. In a good image, be it a painting or a photograph the elements of a good image all work together to draw the user’s eye to the subject of the image. When an image is composed correctly, this process occurs without the viewer being conscious of it (unless it is someone with an artistic background). Photographers can benefit greatly from studying the techniques that painters and other artists – even those such as architects use.
Some key topics to consider are:
Rule of Thirds: Look at the scene you are capturing as if it was in a grid with nine rectangular regions created by drawing two equally spaced vertical lines and two equally spaced horizontal lines across the plane of your working space. Many DSLRs have settings that will display such a grid in your viewfinder making it easier to visualize placement of objects. Generally, the subject should be somewhere close to one of the intersections and not in the center of the image. Of course, if you are shooting a portrait in a studio with a white background, centering is the way to go, but for many other situations, learn to follow the Rule of Thirds. In art, as in other walks of the physical world, no rules are absolute.
Limiting focus: This is covered on the Depth of Field page as well. When you shoot an image think carefully about what you really want the viewer to see in the image. Frequently using a shallow depth of field works well to keep the viewer’s eye focused on the subject of the photo. Landscapes work better with a greater depth of field whereas portraits usually work better with a shallow depth of field.
Positioning of subjects: If there is a person in your scene and especially if that person is the subject of the scene pay attention to what the subject is focusing on. If the person is looking in a direction or at something that is outside the bounds of the image, where will the viewers eye go. Certainly not back inside the image. If the image a a cute baby smiling and looking directly at the camera, the viewer may have a favorable response. If the subject is someone who looks menacing the viewer may feel uncomfortable and look away.
Shapes and Textures
Line and shape