2: The Elements of Photography

In all fields of art and photography, composition is the pulling together of certain visual elements to create an interesting or appealing painting, sculpture, design, or photograph. But it can be difficult to define what makes an appealing composition. Composition has many elements, such as the placement of subjects, leading lines, the rule of thirds, the use of space, and really anything that adds to the overall feeling of the work of art or photograph.

Interesting composition is well thought out. With photography, the photographer must decide where to place the subjects, how to crop the image, and which elements to include. Basically, to create an interesting and well-composed photograph, the photographer first designs the final image in her mind and then takes the final photograph. When you create compositions for your portraits, they will vary depending on the location, the number of subjects you are photographing, and your style of photography.

As with any form of art, there are basic, universal principles, or "rules." And, of course, rules are made to be broken. Breaking the rules of art and composition can be effective if you know the rules to start with and you break them with purpose. In this chapter I discuss the "rules," or elements, I believe are important to portrait photography.

The Rule of Thirds

The "rule of thirds" is probably ...

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