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COMPOSITION

By Cecilia S. Angeles

Composition refers to the elements you see in your viewfinder and capture in your camera. It emphasizes your
subject and may include a background or a foreground or maybe another related element or elements. Sometimes
though, your frame shows only your subject and nothing more, but it is so strong that the viewer readily gets the
message. It is not difficult to develop a good eye to distinguish a good composition. Lift your eyes to the sky and go
underwater down the ocean floor and imagine all the themes between these parameters. All these, God has provided
for your photography. All you to do is compose them all.

Remember these tips on composition:

1. TELL A STORY. Any photograph has a subject or a theme which tells a thousand words. All you have to do is
compos them well. A theme tells a thousand words and communicates ideas and emotion.

2. KISS (Keep it simple, Sweetheart.) Don’t hesitate to exclude elements that distract or are unrelated to the
subject.

3. OBSERVE THE LAW OF THIRDS. Imagine that the picture area is divided horizontally and vertically into thirds.
Position elements either on the lower or upper third or left or right third. For example, horizon line of landscape
is on the lower or upper third, and a tree accent may occupy the vertical left third. Don’t divide the frame into
half either vertically or horizontally.

4. KEEP SUBJECT OFF CENTER. Whatever the subject is… a person, an insect, a house, a flower, provide more space
to where the subject faces to give it a breathing space.

5. FRAME YOUR SUBJECT. Compress a subject by using an arch, a gate, a wall, a door, a window, pillars, mouth of
cave, foliage, branches, rocks or whatever compressing elements are available. A frame may take any of the
following positions: single element above or below the subject, vertical parallel or horizontal parallel elements
on either side of the subject, L or inverted L, U or inverted U or all around frame.

6. USE CONTRAST IN TONES, SIZES, SHAPES, TEXTURES, AND COLORS. Let dark medium and light tonal values
separate picture elements as seen in do-re-mi tones of mountain ranges. The farthest mountain is light, the
nearest is dark and between them is the middle value. Contrast in size can be seen in big and small; contrast in
texture – rough and smooth; colors – red and green; shape – triangle and square; sizes – flower and floweret.

7. ACCENT COMPOSITION. An accent is a little element found or added in a composition. For example, a small
butterfly may become an accent to a flower, a small flower to a woman’s hair. A small figure accents a
landscape. Once they are shot close up, it becomes a subject, not an accent.

8. DRAW COMPOSITION. When you add, alter, or remove some elements in a composition, you actually draw your
composition.

9. SHOOT INTERESTING SKIES, NOT BALD ONES. Lessen sky area when clouds are not interesting. Or do not include
at all.

10. VARY PERSPECTIVE. At bird’s eye view, worm’s or cat’s eye view or normal view, you can change the perspective
of a subject.

11. USE DEEP DEPTH OF FIELD. When shooting landscape, crowd, rows, group, use small aperture. (f8, f11, f16, f22)
Everything is sharp from the foreground to the background.

one element. BLUR THE BACKGROUND AND OTHER SUPPORITNG ELEMENTS TO EMPHASIZE THE SUBJECT. BRACKET COMPOSITION. f2. f3. REDUCE SUBJECT INTO ABSTRACTION. GIVE LINES SPIRITUAL MEANING. (f1. serenity.12. Diagonal – growth and improvement. 15. S lines – grace. AVOID FALSE ATTACHMENTS. Provide no background on this subject. power. Make all areas sharp… Use small aperture. f1. 16. Watch for elements that may look funny like branches growing from the head or coming out of an ear. BY GOING EXTREME CLOSE-UP.5. macro lens. f5.6).8. f2. telephoto lens. Vertical – ambition. closes up shot or baligtad or reverse lens. Include long or near shot. Horizontal – peace. wide or narrow. Spiral – mystery. . vertical or horizontal. f4. Bracket exposure. 14.4. INCLUDE TRIANGULAR ELEMENTS IN A COMPOSTION. or more. 13. You can do this by using big aperture.8. 17. Radical – hope.