Basic Rules of Composition in Photography

Tips on Basic Composition Rules in Digital photography

Once you have purchased your first digital camera, you would naturally want to know how you can improve your game to capture beautiful photos. Here is our list of the top seven rules of composition that any photographer should know by heart. But before you skip to the next paragraph, grab this. The best thing about photography is that no rules exists to tie your creativity down. It is your inner sense of identifying what is worth photographing; having the ‘perfect picture’ in your head even before the moment presents itself is what gives you the ability to create breathtaking photos. So never be bogged down with all the rules, they are merely there to guide you.

Leading lines

Leading lines have been used not only in photography but also in painting. It is a way to allure the admirer, to draw him deeper into the picture so that he can be lead into the scene.

Newport BridgePhoto: RawheaD Rex

You can use a set of stones leading into a brook or the poles of a pier leading into the water to use this concept.

Rule of thirds

The often used and probably the most clichéd of photography rules is the rule of thirds. It basically asks the photographer to put the most important aspect(s) of the photograph on one of the sweet spots of the frame.

FroggyPhoto: Lefteris Katsouromallis

These sweet spots being one of the four points that are created by two sets of parallel lines that intersect each other on the frame, equally diving it into nine blocks. Read more here


A branch of a tree, a wooden structure or even a window that look outside towards a beautiful scene are just a few of the examples where it is possible to create a natural frame around the picture.

CloudsPhoto: Jonathan Kos-Read

It helps to isolate the scene and the main focus area.


When we speak of framing one topic invariably comes up with it and that is cropping. Your subject’s background may be non-interesting, or plain distracting. The best way to deal with the problem is to crop the unwanted background elements out. Use this technique when you want to ‘wrap’ your subject tightly.

Filling the void

A lot of great compositions have been a product of experimenting with moving the main subject away from the center of the frame and putting somewhere down the side.

PowerlessPhoto: Daniel Zedda

However that causes some amount of void in the rest of the picture. To balance the void they put another subject at the middle.

Depth of Field

If you can use it properly both shallow or deep DOF works magically. A big Depth of Field is imperative when you’re shooting landscapes. This is because every corner of the frame is required to be sharp in such compositions. There are several methods available by which it is possible to create big Depth of Field. Smaller aperture, using a wide angle lens, a bigger sensor camera, focusing on the hyperfocal distance are all suitable for creating big Depth of Field. However one more way of achieving this is by composing your photo to include subjects at different distances. Read more here


Avoiding the clichéd perspectives used at all times is one of the best things that you can try doing as a photographer


Use a different angle for composing your shots, say, sideways, or by taking a few steps back or even trying a top angle to give a completely different perspective to your photographs.

Lastly, don’t forget to try breaking the rules as well. That is another important rule in photography. Feel free to share your own rules  and thoughts below.

99 thoughts on “Basic Rules of Composition in Photography

  1. Vraj Mistry

    Nice one, but many more tips can be added…like horizon's placing, Importance of subject ….with colour,shape.size,surface…..compose objects in shape S,L,J,O,triangle..etc…. Leading line going to main subject…..vraj mistry photography.

  2. Miguel Gago

    Excellent article. I just don't agree that a bigger sensor camera favours big depth of field; on the contrary, it is best for achieving shallow depth of field.
    Your original statement is: "Smaller aperture, using a wide angle lens, a bigger sensor camera, focusing on the hyperfocal distance are all suitable for creating big Depth of Field. "