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Photography Composition Taylar Parkhurst

Photography composition

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Page 1: Photography composition

Photography Composition

Taylar Parkhurst

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• Changes in diameter to control the amount of light that reaches the cameras sensor when a picture is taken. 

• It is measured in F-Stops. 

• The lower the number, the larger the aperture. 

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Shutter Speed

• How long the shutter stays open as the picture is taken. 

• The slower the shutter speed, the longer the exposure time

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• Aperture and Shutter speed together control the total amount of light that reaches the cameras sensor.

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ISO or ISO Speed

• A rating of films sensitivity to light. 

• Digital cameras don’t use film, but they use the same rating system for the sensitivity of the camera's imaging sensor. 

• Generally as ISO speed increases quality decreases.

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Focal Length

• A measurement of the size of a lens, usually in millimeters.

• Larger lenses produce increased image magnification

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Focal Distance

• How far away the subject is from the camera

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Depth of Field

• The area in a scene that is in focus. 

• As aperture size or focal distance increases, depth of field decreases. 

• A shallow depth of field means objects closer to the camera are in focus versus a wide depth of field which allows more of the scene to be in focus.

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Composition “Rules”

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Rule of Thirds

• The Rule of Thirds is based on the fact that the human eye is naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds up a page

• Main subjects should be located around one of the intersection points rather than in the center of the image.


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• Lines can be powerful elements in an image.

• They have the power to draw the eye to key focal points in a shot and to impact the ‘feel’ of an image greatly.

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Horizontal Lines

• Convey an element of rest or stability.

• Most effective when turned the camera length wise. 

• They can also help emphasis certain areas of the scene.

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Vertical Lines

• Help represent strength (skyscrapers) or growth (trees).

• Most effective when camera turned vertically


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Diagonal Lines

• Linear elements, such as roads, waterways, and fences placed diagonally, are generally perceived as more dynamic.

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• Depending on the scene, symmetry can be something to go for or avoid completely. 

• A symmetrical shot with strong composition and a good point of interest can lead to a striking image however a symmetrical shot without a strong point of interest tends to not flow well and appear overly segmented.


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• Simplicity is the method of keeping the information in a photograph relatively simple.

• If your main subject is close, then your background should be very simple to avoid distractions.

• You should try to keep everything not important much less interesting than what’s important in the frame.

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• Framing is the tactic of using natural surroundings to add more meaning to your subject.

• It could be anything such as bushes, trees, a window, or even a doorway.


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• Placing your main subject off-centre, as with the rule of thirds, creates a more interesting photo, but it can leave a void in the scene which can make it feel empty.

• You should balance the 'weight' of your subject by including another object of lesser importance to fill the space.

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Point of View/Perception

• Where is the picture being taken from?

• Above, Below, at subject level, or from an angle.

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Photography Styles

• “Photography is an all encompassing term used for all types of image capture but there are in fact distinct variations in the manner in which photography is approached in different genres. Different genres of photography require a different style and perspective.” Chris Haslego

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Landscape Photography

• Cityscapes, mountains, beaches, etc.

• Max. Depth of Field

• Tripod

• Focal Point

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Portrait Photography

• Pictures of people

• Shallow depth of field

• Flattering lighting

• Good location

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Macro Photography

• Close up photography• Appropriate zoom• Shallow depth of field