Mastering Composition: 3 Lesser-Known Rules for Stunning Photos

October 05, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Mastering Composition: 3 Lesser-Known Rules for Stunning Photos

In this article, we're going to delve into the art of photography composition. I'll introduce you to three composition rules that may not be as well-known as the rule of thirds but can significantly enhance your photography by making your images more dynamic and captivating. So, without further ado, let's dive right into the first rule: the Golden Triangle.

1. The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle is a composition technique that involves mentally dividing your frame into triangles, creating a dynamic and visually appealing layout. To apply this rule, imagine splitting your frame diagonally, and then splitting that diagonal line in half. The key is to arrange your photo's essential elements within these triangles, with bonus points for placing a crucial feature at their intersection.

You can easily access the Golden Triangle tool in Adobe Lightroom. In the crop tool, press the 'O' key on your keyboard to cycle through different options until you reach the Golden Triangle. To flip it the other way, press 'Shift' + 'O.'

Example 1: Landscape

Golden Triangle Example - Landscape

In this landscape photo of the Duke of Portland Boathouse, I've positioned the boathouse near the intersection of the triangles. The top triangle contains most of the frame's interest. This approach creates a captivating composition that would not have been achieved using the rule of thirds.

Example 2: Portrait

Golden Triangle Example - Portrait

Here's a portrait-style shot of Edinburgh Castle at sunset. Notice how I've placed bright lights along the diagonal line, enhancing the composition. The castle, our main subject, resides within one of the larger triangles, adding depth and interest to the photo.

2. Unusual Perspectives

Don't fall into the trap of always shooting from eye level or a straightforward angle. To create unique and compelling photos, experiment with unusual perspectives. This often means getting low, looking up, or even shooting from a high vantage point, looking down.

Unusual Perspective Example

In this photo, I looked up an old chimney in a castle. I've added a plane at the top to provide a focal point, but the key here is the unusual perspective. By shooting upwards and adding an interesting subject, you can transform an ordinary shot into something extraordinary.

Remember that framing your subject slightly off-center can also add intrigue and impact to your composition.

3. The Fibonacci Spiral (Golden Spiral)

The Fibonacci Spiral, also known as the Golden Spiral, is a more complex composition rule. This technique involves leading the viewer's eye through a spiral pattern towards a point of interest. Typically, the brightest part of your image becomes the focus.

Fibonacci Spiral Example

In this landscape photo, I've superimposed the Fibonacci Spiral to illustrate its application. The spiral naturally guides the viewer's eye towards the bright area where the sunlight hits the Fells. By using dodging and burning, I've enhanced this effect.

You can flip the spiral in different ways to suit your composition, but it may take some practice to apply it effectively in the field. Try cropping your photos in Lightroom to experiment with this technique and lead your viewer's eye through your photograph.

Incorporating these three composition rules – the Golden Triangle, unusual perspectives, and the Fibonacci Spiral – can elevate your photography to new heights. Don't hesitate to practice and explore these techniques.


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