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posted Apr 4, 2011, 6:10 PM by   [ updated Jul 9, 2013, 6:50 AM by Tony Le ]


Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the object of subject of a work. The term composition means 'putting together,' and can apply to any work of art using conscious thought. In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms depending on the context.


The artist uses concept and brush with the colors for painting. The artistic photographer uses talent and camera with the light sources for taken photograph. Therefore, composition is the term only used for the arrangements of the elements in or the subject matter of photography.

A successful composition is sketches in the view finder of camera and pulls eyes across the whole image, sometimes referred to as visual impact in which will create a more interesting piece of art it will show a pleasing rhythm and movement and finally it settles on the main subject of the photography.

Moreover, many artistic photographers today like to bend or ignore theory that leads to these rules and therefore those are experimenting with the different forms of photography expression; So that it called “framework” by artistic photographer’s impression, instead calling “rules” composition.

Before breaking the rules, let’s learn the basic rule.


The Rule of Thirds is simply a generalization of the techniques used to locate star points within the photograph. Imagine dividing the interior of the camera's viewfinder into a tic-tac-toe grid. The four points of intersection within the grid, called "star points", indicate the best possibilities for subject placement that produces the most interesting and dynamic composition.

It pleases viewers in an abstract sense because it forces artistic photographer to recognize the "Golden Proportion" within the framework of the rectangle. In fact there are 4 such "star points" available within the rectangle. Either one of these star points will be utilized as the location of the primary subject.

Any secondary elements of the image must be placed at another star point or on a diagonal line that exists between star points.

The Rule of Thirds is also based on the fact that the human eye is naturally drawn to a star point about two-thirds up a frame camera’s viewfinder. Therefore cropping or framing an image through camera’s viewfinder that made the main subjects are located around one of the intersection star points rather than in the center of the image.

The center of interest view point in an image is not in the center of framework because placement of the subject there forces viewer’s eye to view it in an unnatural and uncomfortable manner.


In the art, the rules are made to be broken!
With me, there is no word composition “rule” when it is relates toward the art.
With me, the art is a miracle-way for an artistic photographer can freely sketch, stretch and push the boundaries.

However, an artistic photographer must first know the composition rules before his/hers breaks them in order to go into the different forms of photography expression.


Hold DSLR camera at the main object’s level.
Taking a picture from above or below that brings in the image an element of exertion.

  • Ordinarily, the main source of light must be placed behind you.
  • Taking a picture with the light source between DSLR camera and the object is the task for a specialist.
  • Use a dark background for taking a picture of a light object, or
  • Alternatively of a light background for taking a picture of a dark object.
  • Absolutely white background causes flare effect that leads to reducing the contrast of a taken photograph indoor/outdoor.
  • When the main object of an image is located on the long shot, the whole image will look better if the foreground objects will be taken into the image as well.
  • A space in a shot should be reserved in front of an actually or potentially moving object.

Now don't be afraid of breaking rules!

Edward Weston said: "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk."