Boost up your sales Part 4: rules of composition

Day 4 and Part 4. I WAS planning to do one part a week but now find myself hooked enough to be looking for response on part 1 to 3 about 8 times a day and thinking about the next part even so many times.

As you may see the title has changed. I've done this because not only people photographers may benefit from this blog and they are all about improving your photography which will automatically boost up your sales. And hey, I can do with every extra reader I can get.

Since the responses are slow and there have been no questions so far, i guess it's up to me again to come up with a subject.

Well the story so far started with Introducing DNF-Style followed up with some info about backgrounds and ended yesterday with Ways to catch emotions

So we had some private, some studio and some model talk and I guess before I go into depth I can get broader first. Let's take place behind the cam and talk about composing.


I personally do not like rules. But there is one thing I really like about them and that is combining and breaking them. But in order to break them, you will have to know and understand them. So they are a necessary evil (grin). I gathered about 8 important ones. And better drop that camera again, because all you need is eyes and mind on this one. For all pro's, skip this blog. It will all be ready made pie for you.

Ready or not, here we go.

Composition has to do with human brains and how they were trained to see, collect and process information. You know there are even differences in what Asian people prefer opposite to European people for instance. Why? Because they have been trained differently. Asian, for instance read from right to left. Europeans from left to right. Because of this a pose sitting facing right will be felt more comforting to one then to the other. Also a main light for 'left to right readers' feels better coming from top left to bottom right (camera point of view), while Asians prefer top right to bottom left.

To make sure not to get too confusing I will only talk about what nicest for left to right readers.

Are you willing to improve your sales? then here are the tips to produce photo's that will make your viewer feel much better about.

***************1. RULE OF THIRDS*********************

The most popular rule is the rule of thirds.

With this rule you divide your image into 9 equal parts by placing two horizontal lines on 1/3 and 2/3 of your image and two horizontal lines on 1/3 and 2/3 of your image thus creating 9 squares.

Every point where a horizontal line crosses a vertical line is called a "power point" . These 4 points are the most pleasurable to view at is what our brains tell us. Therefor these are the point you would like to place your main subject on. Think of a single tree in a landscape or an eye of your model. Also the lines themselves are points of interest. When photographing a landscape, for instance, place your horizon on the 1/3 or 2/3 line to make sure your photo feels better.

Depending on which you want your viewer to see. The sky (place the horizon at the 1/3 line) or the landscape (use the upper line).

Can't find anything to place on the lines, try to get as close to them as possible. A certain hit.


While talking about horizons, keep em straight O+R make sure everyone will see the artistic maining of doing not so.

A not straight photo with an ocean is like people trying to see where it slips out of the corner of the photo. NOT done.

However in portraits it gives you a nice dimension not keeping it straight while applying some of the rules of thirds.


If you want your viewer to pay attention to something then get closer towards your subject. NO closer, No, no ,no, even closer, YES. Give them nothing else to see or take away their ability to see anything else. Unless you show them a landscape of course. Flowers are great for applying this rule.

© Yurok
This is a nice example of the rule of thirds, a straight horizon and close enough to stay interesting.

******************LENS POSITION*******************

If you want a straight horizon you, of course keep your camera straight. But how about up and down, how about sitting on your knees and looking up to a tower or standing on a chair while photographing your child? All give you very different perspectives (also depending on what lens you use but that is another lesson)

In fashion photography you will almost always see a position coming from low to high. This way the legs of the model catches the sensor first thus making the legs of the model seem longer (It will make you model happy).

Turn it around and take the same shot from a chair and she won't feel so happy.


Try to see lines in your images. Try to pinpoint objects in your images together and try to do this with a diagonal line. It will give your images a thought over, professional look.

Use these diagonals wise and play with them making triangles in your composition. Also use squares and those other things I can't remember the mathematical names of. Bind them together. Pin point them and divide your image into parts. Which brings us to

****************THE LAW OF THE GOLDEN SECTION********

Now I know you are going to read this next part a few times in order to understand it but I can't find an easier way of explaining. Here we go:

The law of the golden section is a classic mathematical formula for distributing weight in a painting. Portrait painters since the Renaissance have adopted the use of this formula which is also applicable to any other subject as well. The law established by the ancient architect called Vitruvius, states:

"For a space divided into equal parts to be agreeable and aesthetic, between the smallest and largest parts there must be the same relationship as between this larger part and the whole space."


Of course there are more rules to be broken, of course there are always exceptions to the rule but I tried to inform you about the most important ones her.

Happy breaking, shooting and weekend to you all.

Photo credits: Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann, Ben Goode, Yurok.

Your article must be written in English

August 20, 2007


Thanks a lot Petar and welcom in the Netherlands

August 17, 2007


Very good article - brief and clear! I can see you guys writing a book soon if you continue with this pace! It's good. Keep it up! :)

Related image searches
Instructions related image searches