Elements of Photography Notes

Photography is all about capturing a moment.  And there are a lot of ways you can play a factor in how that moment is captured. Composition can play a huge factor in making a blah photo into a fantastic one.

Composition techniques:

  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Angle
  3. Lighting
  4. Framing
  5. Motion
  6. Leading Lines



Rule of thirds:

How often has your mom or a friend put the subject in the middle of the picture? Forget the middle. Start placing your subjects in one of the thirds of the photo.

Imagine a tic-tac-toe board as you look through the viewfinder. The lines should divide the photo into three quadrants vertically and horizontally. Where the lines intersect is where you should place your subject.

Camera angle:

Angle can make a subtle or a sharp difference in the look of your photo.

If you always take pictures at standing height, STOP!

Crouch down low. Get even lower. Lay down on the floor. Get up higher. Stand on a chair or a table. Just try a a different angle!

A birds eye view is from above, looking down on the subject. It will make the subject look smaller and can show more expansive area.

Shooting at the same level as the person can give a more intimate, connected feel.

A worms eye view is from below, looking up. It can make the subject look bigger.


Lighting can easily alter the mood of a photo. You can take advantage of natural or artificial light to light your subject. Or to not light your subject.


Using objects to frame the subject can lead the viewer’s eye right where you want it.

The object can be as simple as a door or a window or another item.


Having a motion blur can give your photo a fluid look, help the viewer feel the movement. You can slow the shutter speed   (1/40th or slower) by itself or you can pan as well. Using a monopod, tripod or something to set the camera is necessary when using slow shutter speeds.

Leading lines:

Just like it sounds, an object or objects in the frame direct your eye to one area of the photograph.

They could be actual lines or simply objects or items that are fairly straight and direct you in a certain direction.

Your assignment:

Use each composition technique in two different photo

(every photo should be different! Not the same subject!.) Put all 12 photos in a PowerPoint, labeling each slide with the technique used. Include a title slide. Place in 3rd/4th period Photojournalism  folder on the server, save as “Lastname_composition.”

Rule of thirds





Leading Lines

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