10 Rules Of Composition You Must Keep In Mind

One of the very first qualities of a photo that distinguishes the professionals or any pro work from that of an amateur is the composition in a photo or a design of anything from a company’s visiting card to the packaging of custom truffle boxes. The term composition means ‘putting together’. It can be considered as organization of elements of art according to various rules and regulations of art.

Composition to apply to any art form be it writing, music or photography arranged using conscious thought. The composition of a photo has the power to grab the attention of the viewer or the audience. Composition in a photo means how you have placed the various objects in the photographic frame.

So being one of the most important tools or element in photography and design, there are several guidelines discussed that you can follow to attain or achieve the most attractive composition. Those art compositions which are built on the basis of strong thinking and imagination and involves a proper idea and planning portrays a strong image to the viewer and such compositions are worthy of good price and high success rate.

A good composition can be attention seeking and quite attractive to people. Demand of art pieces mainly depends on its composition. Better the composition, higher the demand. A good composition gives a very vibrant energy and tone.

Now the question here arises that how can one make such fine compositions? Why is it that some art pieces attract viewers more than the others? Why is it that some pieces brightens up mood and others are not that capable to attract buyers? Here are a few reasons explained in detail.


As a photographer or a designer, your interest would be on how to direct the attention of the viewers or the audience towards your photo or art. So, to make sure that the viewers find your photos attractive, you have to highlight the main subject in the frame and make it very interesting.

The position or the location of the main subject in the photo should be emphasized so that it draws the viewer’s attention to where you exactly want it. Many artistic and creative techniques can be used to emphasize the main subject.

You should keep the size, color, contrast, and the shape of your subject completely different from the main background so that the viewers are able to distinguish between the both. So, you can actually help in focusing your viewers’ attention towards your photo by keeping these following things in mind.

  • SIZE:

The viewers or the audience attention also depends up the size of the photo or the image. Bigger the size of the item in the photo, the more attention it gets from your viewers or the audience.


Now consider the above photo over here. The Genghis khan statue in the photo have occupied more space and is quite larger in size than any other object in the photo. So, it is obvious that the Statue of Genghis khan would receive more attention from your viewers than any other object in the photo.


Tonal contrast is another way used by the photographers and artists to center the viewers attention on any certain and highlighted part of the photograph.

Yes, tonal contrast can do wonders when it comes to grabbing the attention of your viewers but it is mostly effective when the subject in the frame is small or minute. Small subjects in the frame demands strong tonal contrasts.



Color contrast and the tonal contrast are two very familiar concepts used by the photographers and the designers. So basically, in color contrast you use a strong color in that is more bold and vibrant from all other colors in the photo. By doing this, you can focus the viewers attention towards it.



One another important rule to be kept in consideration is that the strong, bright and vibrant colors used in the photos by the photographers perceive more attention while those dull and muted colors perceives less attention from the viewers. Using a saturation to grab the attention of the audience can be used in many other contexts as well.


The complexity of an object and the way it has been detailed and designed can catch the attention of your viewers. If the subject in a photo is intricately designed and you have filled it with all the complex details, your viewer’s attention would definitely be drawn towards the subject in the photo.


When talking about balance in a photograph or any design, it means that the elements are arranged in a neat and effective way so as to attract the viewers towards your photo. Seeking or achieving interesting composition can be hard at first but once you learn how to master the art of creativity and how to create unique composition, you can actually do wonders.

If you want to direct your viewer’s attention towards yours photos or arts and design, the subject areas in the composition should be equally and very neatly balanced. This gives an effective outlook of the composition and can definitely attract the viewers towards it.

Basically, there are two main techniques of balance used in photography: Formal and informal. When all the sides of the photo or the image holds and equal weight and seems perfectly balanced, the technique is known as formal balance or symmetry.

Photographers mostly uses this formal balance or symmetry to please the viewers or audience. On the other hand, informal balance is when different visual images can be seen on both of the sides yet the photo or the image still seems as balanced. If there is unequal visual weight found on either side of the photo or the image, it would still be considered as asymmetrical or informal balance.

The effectiveness and attractiveness of your photo can be determined by its layout. The layout of a photo is how you arrange the graphics, the text and all other elements. So when you are composing a photo, do make sure to create a perfect layout in order to attract your viewers towards it.

Like all other art concepts, the art of perspective and composition is either instinctual or it can be developed within oneself through study and practice of course. An effective and attractive layout does not only charm the viewers but also easily portrays the message or the story to its viewers or the audience.

Layout helps the photographers and the artists in creating an effective design which can easily attract the customers or the consumers. A successful design can be attained by including the use of graphic layout in your composition. Layout is considered as user-friendly, very easy to understand and has an appealing outlook.



One of the other effective ways to make your composition attractive is to add contrast into it. Contrast basically adds dimension to your image. The use of this element can create depth in a photo and enhance the three dimensional quality of a photograph.

Contrast can be used for the shape and size to affect the intricacy of the photos while the contrasting geometry creates the dramatic tension in the photos. The above photo of the Eiffel tower and the man shows contrast in lightning and have increased the sharpness of the photo.

The use of contrast is considered important in photography, art and design because it portrays your mood through the images or your photos. High contrast photos means that the color selection has been kept bold and vibrant in the composition. High contrast photos give you a feeling of high energy and strength.

The use of high contrast can be seen a lot in nature photography and in street photography.

A soft and flat look in a photo or image can be attained by the use of low contrasts. Low contrasts images gives the viewers a dreamy feeling. By blending the lighter and the dark areas of the photo, the effect of low contrast image can be achieved.



Two of the most important features of a photo are the background and its foreground. So, to enhance the composition of your photos, you need to focus on either the background or the foreground and blur everything else around it.

This has proved to grab the attention of the viewers or the audience real quick. By having a good command over the depth of field, you can blur the background or the foreground. Lens aperture and focal length are the tools used to control the depth of field.

So basically there is a reason that being a photographer, you should know the art of blurring the background or the foreground.

The Blur effect can make the subject more prominent within the composition and the viewers can actually concentrate on it more. Blur photographs can work too well for close-up photos, portraits, nature and can also enhance the photo by making the subject more prominent for the viewers.


Patterns and textures have been used by many to depict peace and harmony. They are visually attractive and you can use them in the composition of the photos to please your viewers or audience.

Human beings find textures and patterns very charming and including them in your composition and designs can actually help you in creating an attractive composition.

In photography and in art, patterns and textures both plays a very significant role in the overall perception of a composition and of a photo of course. Nice and detailed patterns combined with intricate details and some bold and vibrant colors, all of these contribute to a beautiful texture.

A good depth in the composition also adds to the beauty of a photograph. Texture gives life to a photograph, which would otherwise appear flat and not very interesting. Three aspects are considered very important when it comes to texture photography; curves, contrast and the patterns in the composition.


If you want to add a meaning to your photo, you need to address the details in it so that your viewers can emphasize on them. Use lighting in your photos to enhance the features of the people in them. With such tiny details which can be then observed by the viewers, it can make the portraits and the photos more charming and attractive. It’s always in the small and intricate details of the photo that can convey the story or message to the viewers or the audience.

What actually makes a photo charming and distinguished from the ordinary ones is paying attention to those small and tangled details. These details should be carefully observed and paid attention to. The detailed shots or photos often focuses on a relatively small portion to convey some message about it.


While making a composition, try to focus on telling people its main idea and what compelled you to come up with such a piece. Try to tell your story through it. Highlight those figures or designs that explains the whole theme of why is it made. Make figures that themselves depict some meaning.

Always be mindful of planning a proper story before making a composition. This is the first and foremost step to making of a good composition. We can draw an analogy between an idea and architecture. Architecture is the art of designing and constructing buildings.

If the architecture of a building is good, the plan is good, high chances are that we can expect a positive outcome. We can hope for a good building or structure to be made. Likewise, if the plan or idea before composing an art piece is good, results can be very great and fruitful.


Try to make composition in thumbnails. Thumbnail means a very small or brief description, representation or summary of something. In simple words, it is the process followed by artists until he gets his final work done.

Thumbnails image is not the final work that an artist has done. It is just an idea put out in front of himself in order to reach his final work. It can be said that thumbnails are a ladder that will help you finalize your work. It is a very useful and efficient way of working. It also helps an artist get a slight idea of how his final work will look like.

It helps the artists solve all their confusions and overcome difficulties. Thumbnails are also a great source of memorizing and planning for the artists. Make various thumbnails of the same dimension and size as your final image because we know that many artists fail in creating a first perfect picture.

This technique helps in creating final image that is free from errors and color misprints. During this early stage of making thumbnails, try to point out your mistakes and do corrections. Try to solve as many problems as possible during this time so that the final product or image is error free. This method helps is creating a very sleek and delicate product in the end having details that are very fine.

The end result is a flawless wonder. If you try to make final image in the very beginning without making thumbnails, high chances are that the end result will be having errors and these mistakes can ruin your image quality and full composition. Portraits are made by artists after a lot of thinking.

They pour out everything going on in their minds on a piece of paper and then those thumbnails goes through a lot of refining with respect to color, symmetry, designs and after a lot of effort, a finalized product comes out which can be a masterpiece if all the techniques of a good composition have been followed.


Always plan for the outside shape of the composition. Plan a proper layout and shape of the image. It creates a very powerful and positive impact on the whole composition. If you are creating a customized piece of art for someone, you cannot make one of your choice.

You have to select size and shape of that piece according to customer’s order and demand. This is the reason canvas comes in various sizes and shapes and canvas selection is very necessary according to customer’s demand. In case you are making a composition for yourself then select dimensions and shape as you please.

Canvas acts as a frame for the image or art piece. Shapes in art can be used to control mood. A good shape brings joy and portrays an image of perfection whereas an uneven and not properly oriented shape dulls a person’s mood.

Here we talked mainly about the outer shape that is canvas on which you are going to work or any other platform which has been selected as a stage to work on. Now let us talk about the inner shape and symmetry of the designs or contents which mainly lays the base for an artwork. There are many forms of art. From mosaic to watercolor paintings, shape matters a lot. Everything that our eyes see has a definite shape or form.

In visual art, shape plays a crucial role. There is an endless number of shape and forms. Some shapes are simple and some are complex. Complex shapes are a combination of a few simple shapes and by identifying simple shapes, we can know the shape of a complex object. Simple shapes are of a help when creating a plan or idea for a larger project.

You can easily depict your mind image by drawing a simpler idea without going into much details on a piece of paper or in a mobile or laptop. This way things become very easy to handle. Shapes help us in creating all forms of art be it a painting, drawing, sculpture, photography or architecture.

Abstract art is an example where shapes play a major role just by themselves. Graphic designers play with different shapes in order to get their work done. Shapes help us in creating carious patterns that can also be a source of decoration. Example is textile designing. One can also convey messages to others through various shapes. In short, never ever underestimate the role of shapes in art work be it any art form.


Colors have this unique ability to capture attraction and to make a big difference in the field of art. It is an important factor when it comes to the outcome of the composition. Working with colors require vigilance and a good taste.

Selection should be done very carefully and in a way that it attracts people. One should have the ability to make eye catching and attractive contrasts and combinations. Composition’s value depends a lot on this color factor so always be very choosy and professional while working with colors palette.

Choose the best combinations and the results will be very fruitful. Let’s talk about the colors black and white. They are contrasting colors and proves to be very enchanting when used in order and correct proportions. Many people buy paintings because the colors charm them. This is because layman does not have enough knowledge regarding patterns and styles of art.

This shows us the value of working with good colors. And yes, if anyone is interested in a good sum of money and wants to publish and sell paintings at a good price, practice and get command of this technique.

Color selection portrays the clarity of your purpose. By using the right color scheme, your website design would have a good impression on the viewers or your customers. Color talks about certain ideas, expresses messages, sparks emotions and generate certain number of interests. Warm colors are used within a photo or an image to show excitement, optimism and creativity whereas the cool colors are used to express peace and harmony.