Brooke Ellis
Brooke Ellis

In photography, it’s not only what you shoot that counts – the way that you shoot is also crucial. Poor photo composition can make a fantastic subject look dull, but a well-set scene can create a great image from the most ordinary of situations. Here are 5 main ‘rules’ of composition that should be considered when taking a photograph. The key is to remember that in the same way as a chef rarely uses all the ingredients at their disposal in any dish – so a photographer rarely uses all of the ingredients of composition in the making of an image.


CONTRAST (e.g. dark and light, colour)

DEPTH (i.e. utilising things that are far away)

SIMPLE, NATURAL BACKGROUNDS (to make a subject stand out more)

FRAMING (e.g. using natural elements)

The simplest way to ensure your composition works the way you want it is to think about WHERE YOU POSITION YOURSELF. Something as small as taking a step to the left or right can make all the difference.

Composition Task

Research photographers and find at least two image which best illustrates each of the five main points of composition. Present the images in your folders together with your observations, paying particular attention to explaining what you think the photographer’s intentions were when composing their photograph.

Take photos of your own, taking ideas from the photographs you have researched, clearly showing an understanding of each of the five techniques.

All your work should be presented neatly and clearly in your folders before moving on to the next topic.

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