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Photography is all about having a keen eye that is ready to capture moments in the most pleasing and aesthetic ways. Among plenty of social skills, it combines technical and visual knowledge, and it results always in still images. Many people try to learn all the stuff at once, and they always turn out overwhelmed by the technical part, the one related to shooting on manual mode. Trust me, you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of exposure eventually just like you learned (or will) how to drive a car, it is all about practice and time.

The real soul of meaningful photography relies on composition, so as long as you have a poorly exposed image but with a great aesthetic quality due to its composition, it will still be a great photograph. People have come up with several rules that should be seen more as guides or frameworks that teaches us how to see the world in a more pleasing way. The most famous one is of course the rule of thirds, a way of seeing that is extremely easy to apply and will almost always produce pleasing visual results.

Today we want to talk with you about the less popular yet still powerful composition guides or “rules” that will make you a better photographer as soon as you start introducing them in your daily practicing habits.


Lines are the most basic composition element, and as long as you keep your eyes on them, you’ll be able to capture scenes with a rich storytelling feel. There are 5 major types of lines that you can capture with a camera:

  • Horizontal Lines: Which are extremely useful for denoting calmness and balance.
    Vertical Lines: Great for adding tension and drama to a scene
  •   Diagonal Lines: A little bit harder to achieve but great for adding dynamism to a photograph.
  • Organic Lines: These lines are able for you all over nature, but you have to keep your eyes very well open in order to see’em. Focusing on organic lines is also a great exercise if you are currently under a creative block.
  •  Implied Lines: The hardest ones to achieve, because they virtually doesn’t exist at all. Huh? How come? Well, these are lines that are created due to the interaction elements, the most common example is the implied line that two people staring at each other create in our minds.

Rule of Odds

For some reason we as humans tend to feel drawn to groups of elements made of odds numbers (as long as they are small, 3, 5 and even 7 work just fine). When working with groups made of pair elements our mind immediately starts grouping things due to symmetry. Leaving groups in odd numbers help making the whole group a single unit, and therefore it is more pleasing to the eyes in terms of composition.

Using Negative Space

Negative space is something that has been long feared in photography and many other visual disciplines. But when it is used properly, it can really make some nice compositions that will make people stop and stare. The trick is to leave a very neutral space of the frame in balance with a smaller (in proportion) element. This compositional technique has a huge to do with graphic design.

There are of course a plenty amount of other composition rules or elements that will make your photography way more compelling, but it is good to start things slowly. On the next run we’ll bring you more composition techniques that will result in a better photographer in you. Remember, we can’t do the work for you, so you need to get out there and in the words of John Free “practice, practice and practice”.

Author: Federico Alegría