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Composition is the way in which the photographer arranges the elements in a photo to make it more or less interesting. A good photo is composed of several elements and their combination makes it aesthetically more pleasing to the eye.
Achieve a photo that pleases everybody’s eyes that look at her is a 99% impossible task. However, there are techniques that can help you achieve this. The eye is an organ that enjoys symmetry, patterns, and balance. All this is achieved by giving the elements of the photo a location that responds to any of these premises.
The gaze of the creative mind of the photos is what guides the viewer’s eye, and it does so through an essential notion: composition. This concept, which is also shared by different disciplines of art, allows the image to deliberately guide the eye of the viewer.
All this may seem very complicated but with these three simple tricks, you will have more tools to achieve more “pro” photos and videos.
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A photo can have many frames or natural frames that allow this trick to be used. It consists of giving priority to people or objects using door frames, mirrors, windows … Take a look at this example:
In this scene from Lost in translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003) Bill Murray stands out in the image , not only because of his considerable height compared to the other characters, but also by the way the grayish square on the elevator wall was used. This is a good example of how you can compose the scene with elements already existing in the space.
Look at this other example:
If you don’t recognize it, this scene from Drive perfectly demonstrates the composition of frame in a frame. Actress Carey Mulligan is in the foreground in the camera’s natural frame, followed by actor Ryan Gosling, whose reflection in the mirror makes up the background. And, as if that were not enough, the director offers us another box of content with the photo that you can see in the mirror.
Now imagine this scene in a single shot with both characters in front of the camera and the photo on a coffee table in the middle of them, for example. It would be quite another thing, right? Not better or worse, just different. This is possible thanks to a good composition job 🙂
As we know, the visual languages of film and photography have their bases in painting. The guide lines have their origin in the Renaissance vanishing point, which allowed a more realistic work of the proportions in the painting. But, in addition, the vanishing point gives depth to the scene and guides the gaze.
The School of Athens (1509-1510), by the Renaissance painter Rafael Sanzio, is a good example:
The guide lines are suggested by the architectural elements, as well as the bodies of the characters and some objects. The protagonists of the scene are in the center of the composition and the painting radiates from them. That is the route that the painter proposes to our gaze.
How do we translate this ancient wisdom into our photos or videos ? Well, look at these slightly more contemporary examples:
As you can see, the guidelines are all around you ready to be used and included in your photos and videos. Watching a lot of movies and photos will help you to activate your creativity to use them in the most incredible way possible.
The rule of thirds is basically a compositional structure in photography. Take any image and divide it into 9 segments using 3 vertical and 3 horizontal lines.
The rule of thirds suggests placing key elements at any of the points where these lines intersect.
You can put the rule of thirds into practice with the well-known grid of today’s cameras.
Let’s continue with examples of Drive (If you haven’t seen it, I think it’s obvious that I highly recommend it!) by director Nicolas Winding Refn. Observe how the director composes the image responding to the rule of three thirds in these two cases:
As you can see, you can use one or more points at the same time. These examples are very easy to observe because they have a single subject in the shot and you can clearly see how the composition responds to three thirds. However, you can use this rule in landscape photos or videos, with many people, street photography . You can use it wherever you want.
As I mentioned to you, These tricks to compose your photos and videos are based on what makes the human eye happiest. It is biologically proven that composing images using tricks like these will give you results that are more pleasing to the eye.
Remember that it is always better to know the basics and then experiment and achieve better results. In the end, creativity also thrives on breaking the rules, feel free to do it!