composition in photography
using balance and patterns

This article on Composition in Photography will focus on two composition tips: the use of artistic patterns and the use of balance. Macro photography of the expanded paper below was used to show excellent use of artistic patterns to create an interesting photograph.

composition in photography lesson using paper as subject

Notice how the shall depth of field directs where our eyes focus. The direction of the lighting also brings out depth in what is an interesting photograph of an ordinary subject.

composition in photography lesson using bamboo as subject

This composition of bamboo was made from a slightly farther camera distance.

The repetition of the colors in the bamboo create this pattern.

Notice in these first two photos and the photo of the columns (farther below), that there is a lack of a center of interest, no specific spot in the photo that draws us in.


composition in photography lesson using decaying ceiling as subject


This picture of a decaying ceiling in an old factory is a classic example of the use of the Rule of Thirds in photography.

The factory had been closed down over thirty years ago and provided a plethora of photographic opportunities.

I set my Canon 5d DSLR on aperture priority with a setting of f8. The camera shutter speed turned out to be about 4 seconds.

Building columns always make for good subject matter when studying composition techniques

This photograph on the right was taken during a summer trip to Harvard University in Boston.

The repeating columns create the pattern in this photo.

If I had asked a student to sit on the wall or stand between 2 of the columns, it would have made it more interesting.

Look for patterns in nature as well as man-made patterns to find interesting subject matter.

Composition is unblanced with more visual weight on the right side of the photograph


One of the common photo mistakes many people make is not having balance in their photographic compositions.

This photo was taken with the camera in a vertical position.

The cloud was directly above the parachutist and composed a bit off center.

Not a bad photo.

The shape of the cloud is like a mirror image of the parachute.

This photograph is "heavier" on the right.



Now look at the improved composition of the same scene here on the right.

Rotating the camera changes the photo's composition.

This is something you should try when shooting your photos, but can sometimes be done after wards if you have enough room in your photo.

Not only is there better balance, but we have a diagonal going on now.

The cloud adds some weight to the left side of the photograph.

Positioning the two interest points at apposing corners of the photograph, creates a diagonal, which is another composition tip to use in your photography.

Another element that adds to the visual interest happens to be the gradation of the blue in the sky.

The gradual lightening of the sky as your eye travels across the photo adds to the appeal of the photograph.

Study of compostion in photography using horses as subject matter

The final photo showing the use of balance in composition in photography is of these race horses.

The balancing elements are not necessarily equal in size, color or shape.

With a bit of practice, you'll develop a feel for the best location of the various elements in your photo's composition.

If you'd like to submit one of your photos that uses patterns or balance as a big part of your photo's composition, use the form below.

Use these 2 tips to improve your composition in photography and you can be sure to take better photos.

For nine more tips on good composition in photography, click here: Photo Composition or Amazon has some great books on photography and composition.  You can read the reviews of other photographers.  Just use the handy search box below.



search for books on composition in photography


Happy Shooting
Photo Tipman


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