As cliché as it might sound, there are no rules in photography! Photography is all about finding inspiration and creativity and sharing your unique artistic vision through inspirational photos. A photographer is free to make his own rules and with all the freedom, is there any space for photography rules? Yes. Universal photography composition rules are fundamental for excelling in your career as a professional photographer. As you establish your photography style and improve your skills, these composition rules will give you the right set of tools to experiment with.

As a proficient photographer, some established photography composition guidelines that can be applied to your skills to enhance your photographer portfolio and make your photos the best in the market. These composition guidelines for photography can help you to take more innovative portraits where the viewer gets drawn to the more important parts by positioning the subject to receive a natural balance. The photography composition tips are always universal and almost every professional photographer has at least heard about them or read them up once in their lifetimes. As a professional photographer, these tips can help you prepare better for your photography assignment. These professional photography tips can be great to prepare you during the off-season of photography– so that once your peak season starts you will already know the difference between simple snapshots and inspirational portraits!

What is photography composition? 

Photography like every form of visual art has certain compositions and a photography composition is the placement of these visual elements within the frame. As the name suggests, the term “composition” is putting together and hence, photography composition can easily translate to putting together all the elements of the photo in a certain way. The photography composition guidelines can help you to improve the composition of your photos. But these photography composition ideas can sometimes contradict each other and it is always necessary to remember that there are “better” or “best” rules for clicking the best portraits. You can pick and drop whatever you want from these photography composition hacks for achieving your photograph.

Photography composition guidelines for every photographer:

Rule of Thirds

You must train yourself to divide your camera screen into a grid when using the rule of thirds. Consider dividing your photo into nine equal portions using two vertical and two horizontal lines. For visual attractiveness, keep in mind the key points of intersection and put crucial items along those lines. The rule of thirds states that the most significant parts in your scene should be placed along these lines or at their intersections. This will give your photo more balance and intrigue. Some cameras even allow you to overlay a rule of thirds grid on the LCD screen, making it even easier to operate. Considered to be one of the best practices for a photography portfolio update, this photography rule can be applied to all types of photography like landscape photography, still-life photography, and portrait photography.

The Golden Ratio 

What exactly is the Golden Ratio in photography? It’s actually quite simple: two quantities are in the Golden Ratio if their ratios are equal to the total of their ratios to the greater of the two values. The balance of the photograph distinguishes the Golden Ratio from the Rule of Thirds. The photograph’s focus should emphasize more in the middle. The origins of this rule can be traced to important works of art dating back centuries. In essence, it is the perfect balance with the ratio of 1 to 1.618, and you can look for it in photography, architecture, and art to grasp proportions. 

Balancing Elements 

The Rule of Thirds was the first compositional rule we looked at in this session. As a result, we frequently place the photo’s main subject to the side of the frame- along one of the vertical grid lines. This might sometimes result in an imbalance in the scene. It may cause a ‘void’ in the rest of the frame. In other words, using the rule of thirds to place your main subject off-center provides a more fascinating photo, but it may also leave a gap in the composition, making it feel empty. To get around this, structure your photo to include a secondary topic on the other side of the frame that is of smaller importance or size. By inserting another object of lesser importance to occupy the space, you can establish a balanced composition and level out the “visual weight” of the main subject. This helps to balance the composition without detracting from the photograph’s main topic. 

Leading Lines 

While scouting out photography locations, try to find a location where you can take advantage of natural landscapes’ structures and lines. To draw the eye into the picture, use them in relation to your subjects. In this scenario, a centered and symmetrical picture composition is preferred to help the audience focus on your subject or object. Our eyes are naturally pulled along lines when we look at a photograph. You may influence how we interpret an image by thinking about how you arrange these leading lines in your composition, bringing us into the picture, towards the topic, or on a trip “through” the scene. Straight, diagonal, curved, zigzag, radial, and other types of lines can all be employed to improve the composition of your shot.

Symmetry, Asymmetry, and Patterns 

We are surrounded by natural and man-made symmetry, asymmetry, and patterns. They can provide for some really interesting compositions, especially in unexpected photography settings. Another wonderful approach to use them is to provide tension and a focal point to the scene by breaking the symmetry or pattern in some way. In a perfectly symmetrical photograph, there is beauty, simplicity, and a certain form of elegance. It’s visually appealing and is sure to attract the attention of many. A little variant of the technique, asymmetrical pictures with empty space for aesthetic intrigue is the same. While creating your photography timeline, always prepare yourself to find beauty as you go!

Diagonals and Triangles 

Triangles and diagonals are said to create ‘dynamic tension’ in a photograph.  In our daily lives, we are not so used to diagonals as they imply insecurity subconsciously. The use of triangles in a scene is a particularly effective approach to building dynamic tension. Triangles can either be real triangles or implied triangles. The lines help to create movement in the shot even when your subjects are static, which distinguishes diagonal lines from other composition strategies. This is an excellent suggestion for photographers who wish to break away from precise compositions while still creating visually appealing photographic compositions. For instance, when you place your photography subject on a horizontal surface, it would naturally appear to be balanced. If you put the same subject on a slanting surface, it will appear less stable. This aesthetically creates a certain amount of tension.


While making your photographer checklist, it is important to include POV. Consider where you will shoot your subject from even before you begin photographing it. Our point of view has a significant impact on the composition of your photograph, and as a result, it can have a significant impact on the message that the photograph delivers. Consider photographing from high above, down at ground level, from the side, from the back, from a long distance away, from very close up, and so on, rather than merely from eye level to create impact.


Consider how exterior structures might function as natural frames when framing your photographs. This can include anything like windows or doors, so take advantage of them! Trees, archways, and holes are just a few examples of elements that make excellent natural frames. You can help to separate the main subject from the outer world by placing these around the composition’s edge. As a result, the image becomes more focused, automatically drawing your eye to the main area of interest. This type of photography arrangement is known as frame-within-the-frame. What makes a snapshot like this interesting is that we would be seeing a neat frame that is already part of the shot, which is relaxing to the eye.


How many times have you thought you had a wonderful shot only to discover that the subject blends into a cluttered background and the finished image lacks impact? Even the best camera lenses tend to flatten the foreground and backdrop, which might mar an otherwise outstanding photo. Fortunately, this is usually a simple problem to solve during the photography process: look for a plain, inconspicuous background and compose your shot so that it does not distract or detract from the subject. 

Filling the Frame 

Approach your subjects up close and personal! Fill in the frame with them so that they are the focal point and the most prominent feature in the shot. The background can be used as a pattern to fill in the frame in your photo composition. In some cases, filling the frame with your subject and leaving little or no space around it can be highly effective. It allows the spectator to concentrate entirely on the main issue without being distracted. It also allows the spectator to examine the topic in greater depth than would be feasible if photographed from a distance. Getting in close enough to fill the frame typically necessitates cropping out parts of your subject. This can often result in a unique and interesting composition. 


Since photography is a two-dimensional medium, you must carefully select your composition to express the sense of depth that existed in the picture. Objects in the front, middle ground, and background can be used to create depth in a photograph. Overlapping is an effective composition technique in which you intentionally partially obscure one thing with another. The human eye recognizes these layers and mentally differentiates them, resulting in a more detailed image.

Rule of Odds 

There are plenty of ‘odds’ in the realm of photography, but the ‘rule of odds‘ is something else altogether. According to the photography composition rule, an image with an odd number of subjects is more visually pleasing. According to the hypothesis, having an even number of elements in a scene is distracting since the observer is unsure which one to focus on. It is thought that an odd number of pieces is more natural and easier to look at. 


A photograph’s effect is often diminished because the main subject is so little that it gets lost in the clutter of its surroundings. Cropping close to the subject eliminates background “noise,” ensuring that the subject receives the viewer’s full focus.

Simplicity and Minimalism 

Try to create a sense of simplicity and minimalism by leaving negative space around the main subject. Simplicity can be a great compositional instrument in and of itself. ‘Less is more,’ as the saying goes. Clicking pictures with plain backdrops that don’t distract from the main topic is a good example of simplicity. You can also make a simple composition by zooming in on a portion of your subject and concentrating on a specific detail.

Figure to Ground 

Try to narrow in on the difference between the subject and the background to focus on your subjects and make them stand out. Your photographs will be more dramatic and your subject will be more prominent if you use more contrast. A winning photo composition would be the one in which the main subject is isolated by the contrast solution. Photographic composition tip for a photo with two topics- to balance your image, use the Golden Ratio or the rule of thirds.

Although these are some of the most fundamental rules of photography composition, what if none of these photography principles apply to your photography style? You understand better than anyone that rules are supposed to be broken. The most important thing is that you establish your own photography style and push your aesthetics and ideas forward. That is the one guideline that you should follow at all times. Since photography composition rules are far from being scientific, all of the “rules” listed above should be taken with a pinch of salt. Ignore them if they don’t work in your setting; if you find a wonderful composition that contradicts them, go for it regardless. However, they are frequently accurate and are worth considering whenever you are out and about with your camera.

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