28 Composition Ideas To Help You Take Better Photographs

The simple act of taking a photograph is easy; it’s the art of photography that makes it difficult. Capturing an image demands understanding composition and lighting, as well as being able to frame your shot correctly. It’s so easy to take a snapshot these days with cameras on our phones but taking a great picture takes time and patience.

Here are 28 composition ideas by our Focus Wedding photographer team that you can use to help you take better photographs.

1. The Rule of Thirds

For composition, we divide the frame into a 9-by-9 grid of rectangles. Then, we try to put crucial elements in the shot, such as the main subject, for example, along one of these lines. We may also try to place something of interest where two of the lines intersect.

Focus Wedding photographer Toronto recommends that, When frequently utilizing the rule of thirds, it will become intuitive to place an element along one of these lines. Be careful not to have too many elements in the frame, however, as it can result in a messy image.

2. Negative Space

Imagine that the frame is divided into 4 parts both vertically and horizontally. This leaves 3 parts that are empty or negative space, which also can be known as white space.

3. Leading Lines

When composing the frame, it is helpful to have one or more leading lines to guide the eye through it. They can be found in many different forms- anything from a road to a long fence. Sometimes they lead directly towards the main subject of the photograph, while other times they lead to the edge of the frame.

4. Silhouettes

When photographing in strong light, controlling shadow and highlights can be difficult. One simple way to minimize this is to photograph your subject without their face in direct sunlight; this creates a silhouette effect which is great for portraits.

5. Picture Windows

Most typically when composing an image you’ll want to leave some space open- this provides the viewer with breathing room. However, Focus Wedding photographer team recommend that don’t go overboard or you might end up with too little for your subject to be properly framed in the shot (avoiding the ‘people chopping’ problem).

6. The Golden Mean

The golden mean is another method of dividing the frame into two more parts. This ratio is about 16:9 which means that the longer of the two sections of the frame should be around 15% of its total width, while the shorter section will be around 84%.

7. Leading Lines

A more advanced way of utilizing leading lines is to play with perspective and show how your subject fits into their surroundings. One good way of doing this is to place your subject towards one side of the frame and use a leading line to lead into it.

8. Depth: Front to Back

Another way of trying create depth in the frame is by placing an element at the front and another element further back. Elements can be closer or further away from one another depending on how you want to frame the image.

9. Depth: Slicing Through

This composition method is similar to the way trees and people chop when too much negative space is used in a shot (see above). To avoid this, try placing one element directly over another- this allows for both elements to be visible without having too much negative space.

10. Depth: Overlap

This method is similar to the way we make elements extend beyond one another (see above). The difference is that this one uses elements of equal size and like the previous technique, it allows for both subjects to be clearly visible.

11. Balance: Symmetrical vs Asymmetrical

Sometimes, achieving balance in an image can be difficult. A good trick is to aim for a 50/50 split of the frame, placing more important or stronger elements on one side and less important or weaker ones on the other. If you are feeling bold, try having only one element in the center of your frame- it provides great contrast!

12. Balance: Diagonals

When you have two focal points in your shot that are placed near to diagonally opposite corners of the frame, it can lead to a more balanced image. Try using this method to create interest and tension between both subjects.

13. Shapes

Try framing an element so that there is a clear shape formed by it. This can be used for many different things- try having the shape imitate the outline of your subject or make them fit inside it.

14. Framing

When composing an image, rather than including everything you see in the frame, sometimes only taking some of the elements is more effective. Try framing just one part of your shot and leaving the rest out of frame to make a more powerful image.

15. Cropping

If you only want a certain part of your subject in the frame, try cropping it down to make it more interesting and unique. Most often this is done by finding something interesting inside of the shot and cutting away everything else that may distract from this.

16. Diptychs

This method is very similar to creating a panorama (see below), however, the two images are placed side by side and do not overlap with one another- this creates a ‘diptych’. This style of photography allows you to tell several different stories in only one shot and can be effective if done correctly.

17. Panorama

By taking two shots of the same subject and placing them one below the other, you can create a panorama (sometimes called a ‘stereographic projection’). This is effective in creating an interesting image with stunning depth to it, but often has less impact than when used for something else (see diptychs- see above). Many smartphones has this feature, be sure to read about the best smartphones for wedding photography

18. Frames Within a Frame

We recommend you the popular method of framing an element in a shot is to have a tree, window, bush etc. inside the shot. Try doing this with one element and move it close to the edge of the frame so that you can make out what is outside your shot- this will give more depth to your image.

19. Focal Point

Try removing everything from the shot except for the focal point- it makes a more simplistic and powerful image overall. This is a great method to use when you want to make a statement about your subject, or if you want to create more impact in what you are trying to say with your photo.

20. Golden Ratio

This method of composition is a way to create a more balanced and visually appealing shot- in fact, it has been used for centuries by artists and architects alike. The principle behind this is that elements in the photo should be placed in such a way that they are either symmetrical or asymmetrical with one another (see above).

21. Golden Triangle

When you have two lines and a diagonal line running through your shot, it creates an area of the frame that is naturally more aesthetically pleasing than the other areas (see above). This can be used to create more interesting shots where your subject stands out more than usual.

22. Patterns and Repetition

Try looking for patterns in your shot- whether it is a repeating pattern or an interestingly shaped one. This can be used to create more symmetrical images that are visually very appealing.

23. Symmetrical Shapes

When you have a symmetrical line running through your shot, it adds balance to the frame without being too overpowering. This is most often used with elements that are either lighter or darker than the rest of the photo so as not to jar with the composition too much.

24. Symmetrical Subjects

If you have any identifiable features on your subject, try arranging them so that they are proportional on both sides of the shot. This creates a more interesting image overall and makes the symmetry stand out more.

25. Photograph Simple Subjects

If you want to create a more simplistic photo, try only including the simplest elements in your shot. The less you have going on, the easier it is for your eye to focus on certain things- which can dramatically improve a photo.

26. Framing a Subject

When you frame a subject within another element (such as putting a flower inside of a vase), it becomes more interesting to look at. This is because you are taking something familiar and making it into something that stands out- the viewer’s eye will be drawn to this change in what they are used to seeing.

27. Visual Balance

When you have two elements within the same shot, the weight each side carries should be equal. Try doing this when taking portraits, if the weight is not balanced you can end up with an image that looks like one person is more dominant than another.

28. Visual Weight

Visual weight means how much the eye focuses on something when it enters into your shot- in other words; how much attention an object draws (see above). The more dominant or heavier an object is, the more likely it is to be noticed. Try placing lighter objects in your frame to help draw attention away from your subject- place them carefully though as too many elements can become distracting.

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Toronto Wedding photographer

Welcome to Focus Photography, we are a team of Toronto Wedding Photographers.

We specialize in creative, timeless wedding photography and cinematography with a modern and candid appeal.

We are best known for our creative approach to composition, non invasive style of documenting natural moments, flexibility in package customization and top notch dedication in customer service.

Since our inception in 2015, we have captured hundreds of weddings worldwide.

For each of the weddings, we strive to produce natural candid photography, with precision attention to details, companied by cinematic storytelling.

Since 2015, we have been servicing our wedding photography and wedding videography work in Greater Toronto Area, Ontario.

Our studio is based in Toronto, by Markham Road and Mcnicoll.

We are honoured to be a leader in the Toronto Videography industry.

By 2019, we have been named as top wedding photographers and videographers on wedding wire, even featured on 500px.  We are honoured and proud that our work has also been featured in Wedluxe, Pop Sugar, WPIC, Gay Wedding Mag, Elegant Wedding, Aisle Memories, Hey Wedding Lady, Modwedding, Brides and Weddings, Style Me Pretty Contributor via Lovely Find, Inspire Bride. 

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