Creative Compositional Techniques

Posted on September 12, 2008. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

Composition is one area of photography that begs for constant nourishment. Continue looking for new ideas and new subject matter with which to test your skills and creativity as a photographer. In this article, I will use some visual examples of basic and creative compositional techniques that I hope will stimulate your creativity as well.

The purpose of discussing these techniques is for you have a better understanding about composition. Equip yourself with these techniques especially when joining photo contests. What I hope to do for you is stimulate your creative thought process by sharing my own thought process as I compose a shot.I will assume that you have some photo contest experiences, a good basic understanding of how your camera works, how to get correct exposure, the compositional rule of thirds, and the good basic compositional elements of line, shape, and texture.

What Lenses Do:

pic pic

In photo competitions, your choice of lenses will play an important part in your composition and how the final image will look. Wide-angle lenses expand the apparent distance between objects, and a telephoto lens will compress the apparent distance between objects. Knowing this, you can choose your lens based on the compositional effect that you want. Giving you more options until you can come up with the most suitable composition for your photo competition entry.

Making Good Choices:

Another thing that could create a magnificent impact on photography contest is finding a great foreground subject such as a big rock, an interesting tree or something similar to give the eye a point of entry into the composition. Your eyes will naturally see that subject, then, move across comfortably through the rest of the composition.

This foreground subject also helps to make the viewer feel as though he or she is right there seeing what you saw and experienced at that very moment. This adds a three-dimensional quality and great depth to your photography contest entry, which of course is a technique used by many 4×5 shooters. Develop an awareness of what to include or exclude from your composition, with a mind for keeping your compositions simple.


Achieving Balance:

There are a few basic approaches to this technique when applied in picture contests. You can have a very large dominant foreground with a complimenting background, such as a large rock framing or leading you to the smaller appearing lighthouse in the background. This tends to add drama or a unique quality to an often-photographed subject.


Or, you can balance the foreground and background subjects by keeping them similar in size. This technique is used when there is not an overpowering, dramatic subject, even though you find the overall scene pleasing. You can also build that drama or emotion in your picture contest entry by looking for smaller foreground subjects that lead to that large dominant background such as when a stream gently leads your eye back to the much larger and more dominant mountains in the background.


To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to


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