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Photography 101: The Fundamentals

Photography is an art, an application and a practice. It is the art of visual storytelling through the application of capturing light practised across fields and mediums. Photography has advanced with technology and the principles of photography have benefited from these advancements, but there is no one right way to capturing a picture. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that have helped us discover our grounds in this art.

1.Composition

Simply put, composition is what guides the flow of eyes across a picture. It is one of the most important components of photography and is integral for all visual arts for that matter. A well composed picture can emphasize certain elements or tell a story but most importantly, it grabs the viewer’s attention.

2.Elements

These are the truly fundamental elements of composition which are critical to every picture captured. The seven basic elements of photography – line, shape, form, texture, pattern, colour and space.

3.Rule of Thirds / Golden Ratio

Rules of thumb in composition, these ratios help break the monotony and predictability of pictures. The Rule of Thirds states that you should avoid putting your subject in the middle of the frame. It is essentially is a breakdown of a picture into three by three grid and align the important elements against the lines or where the lines intersect. On the other hand, the Golden Ratio often hailed as the perfect number also plays an integral part in capturing a moment. The ratio allows for a perfectly balanced picture.

4.Framing

As self-explanatory as it may seem, framing is a key aspect of composing a strong and striking picture. Framing a subject within another creates visual interest to an image, as well as context and depth. This trick can be captured in a number of ways – be it light and dark, windows or doors, archways or avenues, tunnels or trees – it is all about having an eye for detail.

5.Symmetry & Asymmetry

A balanced picture is a harmony of the composed elements. Symmetry and asymmetry also provide a sense of visual balance. Symmetry works so well because humans are drawn to visual perfection and compositions that work in harmony. There’s a certain kind of comfort in photos that are almost perfect. Asymmetry, on the other hand, breaks the conventional rules and adds a dimension of complexity to the image. While symmetry is the most obvious detail in an image, asymmetry requires an eye for detail.

As photographer Martin Parr so eloquently put it, “Photography is the simplest thing in the world, but it is incredibly complicated to make it really work.” Knowing, understanding and applying the fundamentals will help you take more compelling photographs and help create a more impactful photo.

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