Advanced composition tips

Arabesque in photography, composition tips

*I will refer a lot about images and photography, but everything still applies to shooting videos as well (they’re a sequence of images after all)

All kind of arts uses some kind of composition. Assembling and putting together pieces so that your art looks pleasing and soothing to the brain (or the opposite why not?) We all know about the basic stuff: rule of thirds (no please), leading lines & the others. In my beginner phase, I used to follow basic composition rules & I couldn't understand why my images were bad (they still are ahah). I tought: “Maybe it's my gear, maybe I can't edit my photos correctly or maybe I'm just bad?” Learning about composition is something you need to do. It will help you so much!

Rule of thirds often leads to mediocre art

The rule of thirds is something even non-photographers know about, for some reason it got into our culture as the "Put your subject at an intersection and your image will look much better“ or "Make sure your horizon is sitting on the rule of thirds“. Not sure how, not sure why, but it definitely doesn't work without sophistication. It creates unwanted negative space and is NOT natural or pleasing to the eye. It doesn't account for image weight and breathing room. The rule of thirds is taught to beginners without accounting for other factors in play, which in turn creates really mediocre art. A good way to put it: It helps you avoiding bad mistakes & restrain you on creating a strong composition.

CurVy lines

Opposites to straight lines, curvy lines are like sine waves. They flow nicely, like water and waves. They create an imaginary (or physical sometimes) pathway in your shot, again interpreted by your mind. It's a more fluid way to compose your shot. Rivers and roads can be a good example of physical curvy lines. Another way would be to direct your model so swivel his/her arm to create a fluid motion so you can use this at your advantage.

Pattern & repetition

Our brain really loves symmetry and pattern, it constantly looks for it, whether physically like a wall of bricks or a patterned wall as much as psychologically like a routine. So using this principle we can manipulate it to create visually soothing images. Center composed shots are greatly improved by using symmetry it creates balance in the image. Or the other way around, use symmetry and put something odd on one side so that the eyes focus on it!

Image weight & contrast

Images have weight. Imagine you're hanging your image on the wall with a single nail. You really want to center it so that it's straight right? The same thing happens in our mind. Split your image in half, left and right. You don't want your image to be one sided too (or maybe you do eh). Take this example: A black and white photo with only an isolated red flower on the right, your image will be greatly unbalanced to the right. Maybe that's your intention, good! Every single pixel and object in your image have some kind of weight attached to them: Color, contrast, interpretation, cultural and the list goes on.