What Is Composition?

Composition is an important basic principle of photography that can often make or break a shot. It is something that escapes many beginners and is responsible for a lot of boring photography. To be better at composition you must really understand composition, so let’s talk about it.

What is Composition?

The dictionary defines it as “the nature of something’s ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up”.  This basic premise is the same for photography, it is the different parts that make up your image.

The key idea is making an effort to control what exactly will be seen when people see your image. Does that tree in the far background add anything? Are you distracting from your main subject? Could you get a little closer to the subject? Do you really want that random arm flailing into the side?

These are the types of questions you should ask yourself not only as you take photographs, but also as you edit.

Composition makes a huge difference, and can really change the main focus, feel, and story of a particular shot. Look at the difference between these two photos of essentially the same subject.

bee-focus-sunflower-composition different composition sunflower bee

Both photos are the same photo of a bee and a sunflower. However, they are cropped to change the composition of the photos. The first photo focuses more on the bee and less on the sunflower. Where as the second photo gives more attention to the sunflower and how much larger than the bee it is. Same photo, same subjects, just different composition through cropping.

Why Is Composition Important?

The choice of what to include and exclude in a particular shot or photo is what composition is all about. Composition is making the sum of the parts equal more than the whole, having an entire image work together to create a synergy to create a truly fascinating image.

The rule of thirds is generally a helpful rule when determining where you want to place your main subject. Subjects that are placed symmetrically down the center are generally quite boring, so putting them off-center (after slicing your photo into thirds) makes for better composition and a more interesting shot overall. This .gif provides a good example.

Composition rule-of-thirds

Now that you know the basics of composition, go fix your old photos with iPiccy Photo Editor, and take new photos and don’t forget to ask yourself, is your image more than the sum of it’s parts?

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