3 More photography composition rules to improve your photos

Some weeks ago, I have shared 3 tips that are very useful to help to compose your photographs and make them more compelling. These guidelines were:

  • Rule of thirds
  • Rule of odds
  • Leading lines

You can read that post here in case you missed it. Since composition is probably one of the more difficult parts of photography, I will share a few more tips with you on this subject. Using these different guidelines will help you create more variation in your photos and give you more options.

Today I would like to show you another three ‘rules’, namely:

  • Symmetry
  • Complementary colours
  • Framing

1. Symmetry

Symmetry gives the sensation that the photo is in equilibrium. Now you can finally put your subject in the middle 😉 This can be a reflection like in the photo below. This mountain is called Monte Rosa in Italian which means pink mountain. It’s only pink for a few minutes at sunrise though. The field that you see are rice fields which are flooded in spring, so that’s what made the reflection possible.

Monte Rosa reflected in the rice fields

Another possibility is to create symmetry from left to right. You can see this on the next photo. Here I have used the rows of tulips to create symmetry on both sides of the photo. In combination with the leading lines of the rows, this creates a good composition. Note that not the complete photo needs to be symmetric, in this photo what is behind the bulb field isn’t.

Tulip field in The Netherlands. Taking the rows head on can create an almost perfect symmetry

2. Complementary colours

You might have heard of a colour wheel, like the one shown below. Complementary colours are the ones opposite on the wheel. This means if you put these two colours together it looks perfect.

A colour wheel – the complementary colours are the ones opposite on the wheel, like red and green

Nature already knew this as this strelizia shows. Look how the orange and blue are a great match. And have you seen the bud of the flower? Red and green, once again complementary!

The strelizia shows its colours

.Sunflowers and lavender also go great together since purple and yellow are also opposite on the colour wheel.

The Provence is famous for its lavender, but there’s more like sunflowers

These two houses in Bo-kaap have also been painted with complementary colours, green and pink.

This car is becoming Instagram famous and looks beautiful in front of the colourful houses of Bo-kaap

3. Framing

Another composition rule tells you to put a frame around the main subject. This creates depth and can create context in a photo. The frame is often composed of something close to you, while the main subject of your photo is further away. This usually means that this part is not in focus, but that is not a problem. This will create even more depth.

This photo from Tuscany shows the concept clearly, the branches of the olives trees create a frame around the main subject: the Belvedere landhouse. This photo was taken just before sunrise and unfortunately there was no mist this morning.

The podere or landhouse Belvedere, the most photographed landhouse in Val d’Orcia

Here is another example of how you can use framing. Here it’s all about the night sky, but the castle and the leafs make for an interesting frame.

A little castle to was used to give shelter to the pelgrims that walked the Via Franchigena

Composition is so important in photography since it will make or break a photo. So go out and practice with these tips and I’m sure you come back with beautiful photos. If you want to show me some of your photos and want to have an opinion, just let me know. If this post was useful, please leave us a comment.

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