One of the most essential elements of design that emerges especially in professional photography is the mastery of composition. In music, composition may refer to the arrangement of musical notes in forming a beautiful song, but it’s not so different in photography, art, or design. For photography, it refers to the careful arrangement of subject matter that fills the two-dimensional space. It can be like orchestrating a quartet or directing a theater show, except it’s in purely visual terms and on a flat page. A photographer designs that page by framing what he sees in the outer world with the edges of the camera’s lenses. He might crop out the excess material to provide emphasis on his intended subject, for example, or include it all, for an extensive or comprehensive portrait. He might allow the light and shadow of a scene to direct the viewer’s gaze. He might zoom his lenses purposely to distort and create strong, reactionary feelings with that distortion. These are pertinent decisions that allow his photography to be filled with dynamic visual compositions that intrigue his viewers. The subject matter becomes more influential in marketing of designed materials.


Each photographer has a unique flair in how he or she approaches compositions of photographs, but it all comes down to abstraction—which muffles out all the details and uniqueness for some universal trends. The rule of thirds, for example, is one in which a composition can be divided into three even sections both horizontally and vertically. The material filling the borders of the camera’s lenses can evenly fill the spaces between the divisions. Important points of interest in the camera’s viewfinder can be placed at the intersections of the divisions. This helps photographers eliminate negative space in composing—that’s empty space within the frame that adds no visual interest.


In that sense, symmetry is often very important in strong compositions, because it allows all the space to be neatly filled— though asymmetrical compositions can also be deliberately used in appropriate situations. Asymmetrical compositions aren’t used much, however, because they lack unity—when all elements within the scene relate to each other, over lap, or touch, our eyes group it all together in understanding and moves about it with interest. Arranging the elements in a way that also evokes rhythmic movement—from left to right, up and down, diagonally, or roundabout—generally also creates more interest in a photograph. Hierarchy of scale, i.e. things of importance larger than things of less importance, can also significantly influence a composition.


In today’s world, where information is moving further and further into carefully composed website pages and device applications of the digital sphere, composition plays a role in ways you might be unconscious of. To keep up with growing trends of dynamic designs, it’s essential you work with an experienced photographer like Ted DeCagna, who can produce photography for professional and promotional use that utilizes composition in a way that makes the subjects skillfully portrayed.


Ted DeCagna Photography… Since 1997 Ted DeCagna has been shooting professional Construction photography, Real Estate photography, Transportation photography, Medical photography, Interior Photography, Product Photography, business portraits, and photography for evidence used in litigation… Winner of more than 25 professional awards… You can connect with Ted on Google+.

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