Travel iPhoneography - Compositions 01

Basic

Centering

Put an important part of your subject right in the middle centre point to give a balanced and powerful impact. In this photo, the tip of the boat is at the centre of the composition.

A balanced look is achieved by dividing four equal parts, with the tip of the arch perfectly centred and the top of the statue head is aligned with the centre point. These little cues give a more symmetrical look even if it is not apparent.

Here is a more precise centering or symmetrical composition with the horizon line placed in the middle of the centre point. This photo feels divided into two parts. The upper portion, and the lower part.

Near and Far

By showing two subjects in one, you will give the viewer the feeling of distance. This is an excellent technique to capture a far away subject creatively. This technique also can be used to put a twist to a typical tourist landmark shooting by layering with another nearby subject.

Framing

Windows are a great start to use framing composition techniques. Looks for trains, buses, and houses.
The train station is a great place to practice because it is not moving and you will have a lot of windows to choose from.

Leading Lines

Great for landscape photos where you can find natural leading lines such as country roads, river or fences. Leading lines bring the eyes of the viewer into a subject, but also it can bring into the infinity. Here the waterline leads to the mountain in the distance.

Leading lines also can start from the middle where it will bring the viewer out of the frame.
Here I layered the photo with, and interesting street art background and also I waited for interesting subjects to enter my frame.

Diagonal Lines

Like leading lines, diagonal lines guide the eyes of the view through more straight and sharp lines. Notice that I also lined the forehead, eyes, and chest of the statues, because they are aligned invisibly.

Almost the same like leading lines where it brings the eyes to the middle line of the composition.
Also, notice the repeated diagonal lines of the bridge gave this photo a more streamlined composition.

Repetition

Find repetitions is your environment. Repeated things give a more calm and natural look.
This technique is best when the repeated elements are broken by a standout subject.
The example in this photo is the boy is breaking up the repetition of the arches.

The repeated elements don’t have to be identical. You can create repetitions using the basic shapes of the elements.

Repetition also can be in descending order such as from big to small. Typically, you can easily find repetitions with transportation because they are usually aligned when they are being parked. Some subjects you may see are boats, taxis, and bicycles.

Threes

 Unconsciously, human minds love looking at a group of threes. Three steps are safe and attractive action movements for the viewer's eyes to move around the photo. It is like we are trained to go for 1, 2, 3!

Look around you and try to group the same elements into a group of three. While a group of three-technique is almost similar to repetition, however, threes doesn’t create a textural pattern because of the limitation of three.

Gaze line

When we are looking at someone who is looking at something, we tend to see the same thing. The gaze direction between the subject one to subject two creates an invisible line. As per my photo here, I layer the background with a temple, and the little monks creating a line looking to the left, where my temple is.

Left to Right

 Naturally, we tend to look at something from left to right. This is because it is the way we read the text and the analogue meter. Positioning your moving subject moving from left to right will give a pleasant eye movement to your viewers. Your subject also appearing as if it is exiting the frame.

Left to Right can also be used for going into the centre of your composition. As long as your moving subject is on the left, your viewer will ‘read’ it as a moving subject.

Don’t be afraid to use Left to Right technique flexibly. Like this photo where the movement is going slightly diagonal lower right side.

Rule of the Third Minimal 

The most famous composition technique of all times is the Rule of Third technique. Break away by pushing your subject to 1/3 of the grid and leave out an ample space. The vast of space will power your subject to be more stand out, and also give calmness to a minimal composition.

Play around with the horizon line to fall at the 1/3 of the grid. Also, in this photo, I divide the boats into a separate grid box to give a more balanced composition.

The Rule of Third is seriously the most overused composition technique. Find a way to break the standard Rule of Third composition such as minimal composition. Here I use 6x3 grids and force my subject to be at 1/6 composition leaving a lot of space to bring attention to the viewer.

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