Composition: frames, diagonals and curves

In a previous article, we talked about the main rules in composition. Let’s go deeper into this topic with other compositional elements that will help you get the most out of your photographs.

Natural frame of the monastery in Petra, Jordan

Frames

One of the most widely used and easy-to-interpret composition tools for the human eye is the frame.

Placing the main subject/object of our photography within a frame will focus attention on it and give great strength to the image.

As always in photography, it is important to observe: we could identify architectural frames (such as doors and windows, as in the photo below) or even natural, as in the example above with the cave in shadow that highlights the “Monastery” of Petra in Jordan.

Couple in a bar in San Telmo

Identifying the ideal frame, where we will place our subject/object, taking into account the light and colors in the scene, could be the simple recipe for a great photograph.

We can also use them to easily eliminate unwanted elements in the frame, changing the point of view.

We should also think about whether to blur the frame or keep it in focus as the main subject/object of our image, this will depend on what we want to do.

There are two cases:

1. With the blurred frame we will give more importance to the main subject/object of the photo;

2. A focus frame may be important in order to show details of the context in which the subject/object is located.

Oak barrels in Bodega Zapata

Curves and Diagonals

Other fundamental composition tools are curves (top photo) and diagonals, which give dynamism and depth to the image, guiding the eye of the observer.

Below is an example photo I took during a portrait photography session in Buenos Aires, with the subjects in the foreground and the diagonal, which guides the eye and gives depth to the image, creating a scene more interesting and balanced visually.

Couple photoshoot in Buenos Aires


 

The composition is one of the fundamentals of photography: the combination of elements in harmony gives great interest to the image. For this reason, it is important to know the rules that dominate it and be ready to apply them at the right time, in a natural form.

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