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6 More Composition Rules and Ideas for More Confidence (part II)

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In the previous article we discussed various composition rules and ideas to help you gain more confidence in photography. Knowing how to use the many technical features of a camera is one thing, developing your photographer's eye to actually recognize a good composition is another, and dare I say, more important. Since there are more ways of composing a stronger image than fits in one article, here are some more ideas for a good starting point in your photographic explorations.

1. Repetitions

Repetitive subjects or pattern, such as people dressed the same way, a line of trees or tables in a street café, immediately attract our attention and make a good photo opportunity. Think of repeating shapes, colours, or lines and see how you can incorporate them in your image. If the repeating objects are aligned, compose them diagonally for a more dynamic image, or use a low depth of field by focusing on the first object in a row and letting the others blur. It is also interesting to break the repetition by focusing on an element that breaks the pattern and “stands out from the crowd”.

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2. Odd v. Even

When photographing repetitions, keep in mind that odd numbers usually look better in the image than even numbers. For example, a photo that contains 3, 5 or 7 repeating objects will make the image look more dynamic and balanced than one that has 2, 4 or 6 of them.

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3. Fill the Frame

If there are too many repetitive objects in one place, stop counting and simply fill the frame! This will emphasize the quantity and will give a feeling of endlessness to your image. This technique works well when photographing food stalls in the market, a blooming field or anything in a cluster.

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4. Use Reflections

Using reflections in your photographs is one of the easy ways to unleash your creativity and to show your surroundings in a different way. Mirrors, shop windows, puddles, etc – any reflective surface will work. Get close to the reflective surface and use a wide-angle lens to duplicate the view for example. You can also try to photograph straight or at a slight angle for an “overlay effect”.

Hint: smart use of reflections produces great self-portraits of a travelling photographer!

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5. Matching Colours

Noticing similar colours in a busy environment and combining them together in an image will add interest to it. Similarly, noticing contrasting or complementary colours will create more tension or add balance to your photographs.

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6. Space to Look or Move

When photographing people (or animals) that are looking at something, remember to compose the image in a way that gives your subject space to look into. The Rule of Thirds usually works well to give the necessary space. The same applies to moving subjects, whether it is a someone running, a vehicle or a galloping horse!

These are just some, but of course not all, composition rules and ideas that may serve as guiding lights in your photography. Stay tuned for a future article on how these rules can be broken and in the meantime share your creative compositions with us.

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.