1. Rule of Thirds – Instead of placing the main subject in the center of the frame, divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and place the main subject at one of these intersections.

Photographer: Roy De Carava

2. Leading Lines – lines in the photograph that lead the eye to the main subject

3. Diagonals – Sloping lines

4. Frame within a frame

Photographer: Steve McCurry

5. Figure to Ground – Figure to Ground -the relationship between the subject and the background sometimes described as negative and positive space.

Calla Lily. Photographer: Robert Mapplethorpe. 1988.

6. Fill the Frame – get closer. Never plan to crop later.

Photographer: Alexander Rodchenko

7. Patterns – repeated elements. Break the pattern for visual interest

8. Symmetry – If you fold the image in half the two haves are very similar and have equal visual weight. Or make it asymmetrical to add tension to the composition.


In-class lab Exercise



HW1 – Composition