Art Photography – Composing an Art Photograph

There is more to an art photographer than what meets the eye. A common misconception is that art photographers are simply people who take pictures. The main difference between the two is that art photographers acknowledge that the base to fundamental design is the model’s composition. In more depth, a picture is more than that smiling face or that beautiful design. A photograph taken by an art photographer will incorporate insight and thought into the background, foreground lighting of each, the color and the framing. It is absolutely necessary to compose a photograph first and then expose next.

In order to create a well orchestrated photograph there are guidelines to follow which allow you to take pictures as an art photographer instead of an amateur. If you take two pictures, one which utilizes the composition techniques that we are about to discuss, and one that does not, the difference will be remarkable. In fact, these guidelines were in fact used by ancient Roman and Greek artists many centuries before the invention of the camera. So take these guidelines to heart as they will allow you to make more desirable photographs. Remember, also that you can alter them to express your inner creativity.


It is important that you do not overwhelm your audience. With this in mind, make sure that your shots are not cluttered and that they appear to crisp with simplicity. However, the “simplicity” guideline should not be taken to the extreme as to not take photographs of detailed or intricate things. The main point of this guideline is to show the audience what you want to project. Make sure there are minimal distractions in your photographs.


Similar to using the simplicity guideline is the art of balance. This balance technique is to be used when setting up shapes, using colors, and especially when organizing compliments of light and dark sections. You should ask yourself “is this photograph uneven?” to ensure that you have used the balance guideline correctly.

Lopsidedness can actually be used if it is done correctly. If lopsidedness is used, make it part of the creativeness of the photograph. It will be less formal of a picture, but with the added use of basic geometry you can still achieve balance. The rule of thirds discusses this further.

Rule of Thirds

As humans, our eyes automatically focus on a spot which is two-thirds from the bottom of a picture. This as you can see is not a symmetrical approach as it involves thirds. Therefore, in order to take advantage of this phenomenon, you must make the main subject or dividing line in either the top third, or the bottom third of the photograph. You can use this rule of thirds vertically or horizontally which when you think about it, creates a 3 by 3 grid and 4 crosshairs. Include interesting points of interest at each crosshair.

Source by Paul Davison