Basic Photography Composition Techniques

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To achieve asymmetry, try including two different or contrasting subjects or elements and place them off center (following the Rule of Thirds). They can be anything — two different objects, two of the same object that differ in size or color, uneven yet balanced amounts of light and dark tones, or two different concepts.

Depth and Layering

Layered image of urban landscape

Incorporating layering into your composition involves including other elements at varying distances from the camera to add depth to an image. What this does is it allows the viewer’s eye to be led through the image (similar to leading lines) and to bounce from one element to another. The effect becomes more visually compelling when you have at least three dominant layers in your image — your foreground, middle, and background.

In this technique, your subject can be either in the foreground, the middle, or the background, depending on where you set your focus. In case the elements are fixed, such as in the photo above, a simple change of perspective can alter the size of your foreground in relation to the layers in the background.

You may choose to do your layering during post-processing by editing your foreground in, as naturally as you possibly can. Just be careful about keeping the overall image balanced and make sure that you have a distinguishable subject that your viewers can easily identify.

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