The Philosophy of Composition in Photography

Regardless of how beautiful the subject, composition can make or break your shot. Even if the lighting is perfect and your exposure time is on the spot, it will all be lost if it looks like all of the elements of the photograph have been thrown haphazardly into the shot. Even shots that show chaotic scenes should have some organization to the chaos. The audience needs to have an idea who or what is the most important part, and if too much is going on at once, it makes it hard to focus. Every picture tells a story, through its composition. It’s important to make sure yours doesn’t get lost.

Speaking of stories in composition

Although it may sound like the easiest part of photography, composition can be one of the most challenging aspects. According to an online blog “Digital Camera World”, simple scenes that fill the picture are a good place to start. While a person’s mind can selectively focus on only the important things, a camera can only capture everything in front of it. It is important to keep this in mind when setting up as it is easy to simply not notice a distractingly busy background while focusing on your subject. In addition to telling a story, you have to decide what kind of story to tell. Will the subject be in the center, or off to a side? It is also important to decide how the picture will be balanced. Keeping a picture from being either too busy, simply boring or overpowered on one side or another is a real balancing act. It is part science, and part creativity.

Watching the things wandering through the photograph

As the “Digital Photography School” blog points out, patterns, texture and colors are very important in photography. People prefer things with predictable patterns. Symmetry is also important, as most people are put off by photographs that are unbalanced. Symmetry can also give people a better idea of what the subject is. Textures are both visually interesting as well as a way to add depth to your pictures, giving them more life and making them easier to relate to.

Now we are moving back through space

Life does not exist in two dimensions, and neither should a good photograph. Although it may be tempting to make sure that the subject if your photo is in the foreground this is not always the most interesting thing to do. A good question to ask is what kind of story your photograph is trying to tell. A photo about a journey might benefit from a subject in the background of the picture while a picture about choices may be better with a subject closer to the center. Once you have your subject, it is important to not neglect the background. Although a solution may be as simple as moving your camera or adjusting the lenses a bit these simple steps can make or break a photo.

The rules that are more suggestions than actual law of photography

Once you know the rules of composition it is important to remember that they are not set in stone. Photography, like any other art or language is constantly changing. Once you know the basic rules, you can find ways to challenge them. These challenges cannot be accidental, they have to be deliberate and used to make a point. Without the deliberately challenging composition, the photo will simply look disorganized and unorganized chaos is usually not the best way to go.