Photo Composition

Familiarize yourself photograph composition and tone with these tips.

I would think that volumes of books have been written on this subject but maybe I can just put it into very simple terms that will be easy to understand.

When speaking generally, the composition of a picture is simply its arrangement. Now some arrangements are made by putting an object or a figure in a certain place and arranging them. Other arrangements can be made by the view of the subjects. You can move a camera a few inches or a few feet and change the composition. Also if the objects in the picture move, such as a person leaning to one side as the picture is snapped then the original arrangement is not the same.

The time of day will make a difference in an outdoor picture, as light and shadows become part of the arrangement. For example a picture taken at l0 a.m. and then taken again at 5 p.m. would have a different composition. Shadows have form and light has emphasis: you'll need to lead your eye to the proper time to take the picture you desire.

Also remember that the outer edge of a picture is part of its composition: the "holes" or open spaces inside the margin should have variety of shape. Now you may be wondering if good composition comes by accident: sure it does sometimes, but this is because of our ideas of beauty.

After all, in pictorial composition there are but a few basic principles that, if remembered, will help anyone to make attractive pictures.

Try to have one main or dominating point of interest. Don't have a picture tell more than one story. Give your subject proper prominence and have all else that may be included in the picture area subordinated or given a posiion of minor importance.

A good picture should also be balanced in the matter of light and shade. You need graduations of tones from light to dark and portions of each should be distribued in the picture so that it will appear wll balanced. For example, all of the dark tones should not be in one place. You need to have an equalization of light and dark tones as needed.

Remember most of all, is the picture pleasing to look at? Are the objects in such positions, in relation one to another, as to make an agreeable effect? You need to tell at a glance what the picture is portraying. If this is obvious, then you have a good picture with excellent composition and tone.

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