Home > Blogs > 10 Practical Photography Composition Rules

10 Practical Photography Composition Rules (For Beginners)

Nowadays, mobile phones and cameras have lower and lower requirements for photographers, and they can shoot as long as they press the shutter. But if you want to add your own thoughts to your photos, it is also very important to learn a certain amount of photography knowledge.

The composition I understand is how you arrange the content of your photos before shooting, according to the theme of the shooting. It is to feel in the space you create, manage the relationship, discover the structure, and let the meaning you want to express emerge. Here are several common composition methods:

1. Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds should be the most common and basic method of composition, a simple rule to be followed so that your subject is placed within a certain area of an imaginary grid, which splits your picture in 9 equal areas. At present, the vast majority of digital cameras and even mobile phones have built in the nine grid auxiliary composition line, it is suitable for a variety of shooting themes, the most commonly used is scenery, characters, etc.
Rule of Thirds

2. Symmetric Expression

Symmetrical composition has the characteristic of balance, stability, photograph echo, but its shortcoming is too inflexible, lack change.Often used to represent symmetrical objects, buildings, or objects of a particular style.

The picture below shows a bridge. According to the symmetry of the bridge itself, it is very suitable to use symmetrical composition to shoot.
Symmetric Expression

3. Ceter Your Subject

The central composition is very simple, that is, the subject is placed in the center of the picture. It is often used by novices and is the most stable method for composition. We can start from this composition law and then gradually add other composition methods.

In many cases, central composition is a good method to use, but many subjects may lack creativity, so learn to use multiple composition methods.The central composition is suitable for photographing objects such as buildings or central symmetry.

Ceter Your Subject

4. Leading Lines

The method of leading line composition is to use the lines in the picture to guide the viewer's eyes so that his eyes can eventually converge to the focus of the picture.Of course, a leading line is not necessarily a specific line, as long as it is directional, continuous things, we can call it a leading line.In real life, roads, rivers, trees, colors, shadows and even human eyes can be used as leading line.

Leading Lines

5. Diagonal Lines

Diagonal composition, also known as oblique composition, the main body is arranged along the diagonal of the picture or presents a trend of extension. This composition adds dynamic tension to the picture and makes it look more lively. In addition, the diagonal line is the longest straight line in the frame. The main body is spread along the diagonal to naturally fill the whole picture. The picture is stretched and full, with better visual effect.

A vertical headshot or close-up with a clean background is ideal for diagonal composition, with a slightly tilted subject giving a lively feel;But if the background is not clean enough, especially if there are strong and obvious horizontal lines (such as ground, water) or vertical lines (such as walls, columns), forcing a tilt can backfire.

Diagonal Lines

6. Keep the Background Simple

Photography is an art of subtraction. We constantly eliminate objects that are not relevant to the subject, making our picture more concise, easier to see the subject, highlight the subject, and more able to show the visual impact.

In the minimalist composition, white space will often be left in the picture, that is, clutter will be left empty to create a negative space for the audience to focus on the subject. At the same time, the minimalist picture will make people more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Keep the Background Simple

7. Golden Ratio

We divide the picture of our camera into a certain proportion, and then subdivide it to get a curve. This is a golden spiral composition, such as the famous painting we are all familiar with, the Mona Lisa.

Golden Ratio

8. Rule of Odd Numbers

Research shows that people prefer odd Numbers to even Numbers when they see things, and I actually don't know why.For some reason, people feel more comfortable looking at photographs with an odd number of subjects, so we can use it to further enhance our composition.

Obviously, in some areas, such as wedding photos, it doesn't work.However, there are plenty of other situations where you can use this rule, such as photographing only three trees instead of four, or capturing five people instead of four.

Rule of Odd Numbers

9. Frame Within the Frame

Framing refers to the use of foreground objects to form a frame to create a sense of occlusion, so that people pay more attention to the scene inside the frame.

Foreground objects need to be differentiated with the subject, such as color contrast, light contrast, clear-fuzzy contrast, etc., so that people can know "this is not the subject" at a glance, so as to achieve the effect of ignoring the foreground and focusing on the subject.Frame scale is also important.Frame is too small, there is no sense of frame;The frame is too big, it becomes more distracting.

Frame Within the Frame

10. Change the Angle

Many cameras now flip over the screen, and SLRS are equipped with a handy real-time view feature, which makes it easy to take photos from unconventional angles.Don't always use the height of your eyes to expand the creation. Try to lower or raise the line of sight. You can get unexpected effects by shooting things from different angles.

Change the Angle


After learning about simple photographic composition, you can practice with the following learning ideas, which will make it easier for you to master.Learning deeper knowledge on this basis will also be faster.

  • Step 1: Memorize as many composition skills as possible, form a mental set, and know how to shoot in the same situation.
  • Step 2: After a certain amount of accumulation, during the shooting, you should think about why the composition is so, what I want to express, what my idea is, and whether it would be better to change the Angle, direction or time.
  • Step 3: When encountering the scenery before, take one photo with the composition that you are familiar with, and take several photos at the same time that are not of these composition, which can be selected in later stage.

Latest Articles

Hot Videos

Cgaga Fotosifter to manage your photos in multiple devices

Fotosifter - an easy and smart photo oragnizer and editor

PS tips—How to do animal image matting in Photoshop

You may also like to read:

Is the Boston Dynamics robot dancing real?
Boston Dynamics, a professional robot development company, posted a video of robots grooving to the...
Things You Need to Know about New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ Live 2021
The Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve is a day away, but unfortunately the NYE is...
What is Boxing Day after Christmas?
What is the first thing people do after Christmas? Travel ,rest or keep partying? No,...
Best Vegetarian Christmas Food
Vegan recipes are getting hot recent years, many people have joined the vegetarian diet. So...