3 Composition Techniques for Editorial Photography

The following article provides a quick walkthrough of some composition techniques used by professional editorial photographers.

1. Rule of Thirds

To create good composition for a photograph, you should divide it into three sections using either vertical or horizontal lines. When these are overlapped, you will get a “tic tac toe board” like division on the photograph.

There are four points at which the lines crossover, and it is essential that the subject rides these lines in the photograph. If someone is standing on the right side of the frame, then they should be standing somewhere over the right vertical line of the “tic tac toe board”. It is helpful if an element or a body part occupies a diagonal in the center square.

2. Look off Rule

If the subject is standing on one vertical line, then ideally they should be ‘looking’ at the other vertical line. This helps create a gradual movement of the viewer’s eyes.

3. Forms of Composition

You can apply multiple forms to your composition. These forms will overlap the “tic tac toe board”. The arrangement of forms could be diagonal, C shaped (forwards and backwards), vanishing points, swoosh, symmetry (triangles and ovals) and the popular S-curve (useful for landscapes).

You can use these forms of compositions individually or in combination with each other to create a great looking flow over the plane. Also, none of these composition rules are hard coded. If a particular element overpowers the look off rule, then you do not need to use it.