For powerful images, composition rules. Nothing will make your images look better than good composition. I know. Rules. It sounds complicated and restrictive. It’s not, though, it’s easy and very liberating. With these five composition guidelines in mind, suddenly you know what to look for, and possibilities will start to leap out. So here they are:

1)     The golden rule- the Rule of Thirds. Simply divide your image finder into thirds across and down. Where they intersect is an impact point and something important should be at one of those points. An eye, a face, the focus of the image, should be there. For landscapes, your horizon should be either at the top horizontal line or the bottom one.

2)     Rule of Odds. You might not have heard of this. Our minds find odd numbers of elements more pleasing than even. Threes are most appealing. So if you are photographing runners, if there are three subjects there, say one runner with two behind them. Or with two fans cheering them on. Position them so there is no dead space in the middle. The eye will look for a center space and gravitate there, so have them offset.

3)     Rule of Balance. If you have a dark space up in one corner, have a light space in the opposite side. If you have a busy area, have a quiet area.

4)     Fill the Frame Rule. Pull in close, eliminate all that extra stuff around your subject, get in uncomfortably close so the viewer can focus on just this one thing. Be bold when you do this.

5)     Viewpoint Rule. Go high, go low, shoot up, or shoot down. Most photographs are taken from a static standing position. So when an image viewer sees a normal view from a different perspective, it instantly interests them. It’s something they don’t commonly see. So get down to ground level, let your lens touch the ground. Shoot up to get that majestic, super hero look. You can show how tall or small things are by your perspective.

To really amp up your images, try combining some of these rules. The more you use these rules, the more your eye will go looking for them. At first it will seem forced, even challenging, to make your image fit the rule. But like learning to drive, it soon becomes natural and automatic.  You will see an instant improvement in your images.

Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.