Photography is all about creativity, inspiration and delivering your point of view. With all the freedom, is there really any space for rules? Yes! Composition rules in photography should always be handy because the success of your work depends on them.

Polishing up on some basics might just ignite a spark of creativity in you. Let’s take a look at all the composition rules that have ever existed and figure out how you can work towards embracing (or breaking) them. Keep in mind, that you can buy images in this article to remember and visualize the 10 simple rules of composition in photography. 

1. Rule of thirds

With the rule of thirds, you have to train yourself to split your camera screen into a grid. Keep in mind the key points of intersection and place important elements along those lines for visual appeal.

photography composition rules

2. The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio differentiates from the rule of thirds by the balance of the photograph. Here, the focus of the photograph is more in the center (with more details). The roots of this rule go back centuries and can be found in notable works of art.

photography composition rules

3. Leading lines

Take advantage of the structures and the lines of natural landscapes. Use them in proportion to your subjects to lead the eye into the picture.

photography composition rules

4. Diagonals

One thing about diagonal lines that differentiates it from other composition techniques is that the lines help create movement in the photograph even when your subjects are still.

composition rules in photography

5. Framing

As you plan how to frame your shots, consider that outside structures can serve as natural frames. This can be things like windows or doors so use them to your advantage!

composition in photography framing

6. Figure to ground

Try to focus on your subjects and make them stand out by narrowing in on the contrast between the subject and the background. The more contrast, the more dramatic your shots and the more prominent your subject.

photography composition

7. Fill the frame

Get up close and personal with your subjects. Have them filling in the frame so that they are the focus and the dominant feature of the photograph. Note how in this example, the background was used as pattern to fill in the frame.


8. Center dominant eye

When photographing people, place the dominant eye in the center of the photograph. This makes the photograph more luring as it appears that the subject’s eyes are following the viewer.

photography composition rules

9. Patterns and repetition

There is a reason why we love patterns, they are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Another aspect to explore is including something in your photograph that interrupts a pattern as a way of including an element of the unexpected.

photography composition rules

10. Symmetry and asymmetry

There is beauty, simplicity and a certain type of elegance in a photograph that is perfectly symmetrical. It’s pleasing to the eye and a sure way to catch the attention of many. The same goes for a slight variation of the style; asymmetrical shots that include empty space for visual interest.

composition rules photography

These are just 10 of the most noteworthy rules of composition. All things aside, you know better than anyone else that rules are meant to be broken. The most important thing is that you develop your personal photography style, and push forward your aesthetics and your unique vision. That’s one rule that you should implement 100% of the time.

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