Berlin photographer Sebastian Jacobitz shares his opinion on the basics of aesthetics and the rules of composition. He gives advice on building a frame composition that will help you shoot aesthetically pleasing photos.
Recently, a man wrote to me, who said that he liked my photos, but unfortunately he does not have a “photographic eye”. This prompted me to write the following article on the basics of aesthetics in photography.
When we talk about aesthetics, we mean that some images are more attractive to our eyes, whether it be photographs, paintings or sculptures.
The difference between a photographer and any other person is not the ability to notice beauty, but that the photographer should be able to explain why some elements are pleasant and others not. Everyone has an understanding of aesthetics. Anyone can see it, but only a few can analyze the picture and explain the compositional techniques that create a beautiful image.
These methods were not “invented” by expert artists. They were found in a variety of disciplines. For example, the golden ratio matters not only in photography or painting, but also in architecture, mathematics, and even in arranging colors. This means that we can apply some of these universal rules to create pictures that most people will perceive as visually harmonious. Composition elements
The viewer's gaze is automatically guided by leading lines and other geometric shapes. Leading lines help to focus on the object, which becomes the center of attention. If the eyes naturally follow the lines and finally stop at the object, a very harmonious impression is created.
Rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is based on the simplified principle of the golden ratio and divides the image into three equal areas. It helps to place the object out of the center and cause a pleasant effect.
The ideal areas for placing objects are four points formed as a result of the intersection of lines parallel to the sides of the frame. In street photography, it is advisable to use high points. They will allow us to show more the subject of the shooting on which we want to focus.
Geometric shapes help create dynamic movement in the picture. They form an auxiliary basis, enhancing perception and uniting the individual elements of the frame as a whole. For example, geometric objects such as triangles and circles are popular.
The previous photo already shows an example where three objects form a triangle. But the viewer is pleased to perceive not only three subjects. 5 or even 7 points of interest can greatly enhance the aesthetic value of an image.
This strange rule is explained by the fact that if objects are easily ordered, arranged in pairs (2, 4, 6, etc.), then our brain becomes uninteresting.
Break the symmetry
The symmetrical picture is a great achievement, but the 100% symmetrical picture is too clear. To make it more interesting, you can only place the object to the left or right of the section axis.
The listed compositional techniques will help you create aesthetically pleasing photos. You do not need to be born with some kind of “exceptional” eyes in order to see interesting images. Every person has an aesthetic feeling. The difference lies in being able to explain and recreate eye-catching photographs or paintings.
Basic rules - this is an easy way to create a certain glow in the image, avoiding complete chaos. In other words: an aesthetically successful image does not automatically become magnificent. This is just a great basis to outline the plot.