Welcome to Through the Lens!

Ever wondered why you like a particular photo? There are plenty of reasons, one of the most significant reasons is composition.

Think of Composition like your skeletal system. It supports all the elements within a photograph, much like how your skeleton supports your body. Without it, your body would just collapse or your photo would be a mess.

There are lots of composition guides, here are some of them:

1. Rule of Thirds – Imagine a Tic-Tac-Toe box. The rule of thirds says that the important elements in a photograph should be positioned along the lines or the points where the lines intersect.

2. Leading Lines – Look for “lines” that “lead” the eye to the important parts of your photo.

3. Diagonals – Vertical and Horizontal lines can be boring when used excessively. Try using diagonal lines. You’ll be surprised by the dynamic image, especially if you partner it with triangles. Try connecting your subjects and elements by drawing imaginary triangles.

4. Frame within the frame – An example would be if your subject is inside a window. The window itself becomes the frame if you include it in your shot. Try to incorporate other objects like a hole in the wall, mirrors, structures, etc.

5. Symmetry and Pattern – Everywhere around us, we are surrounded by symmetry and pattern. Look for these and find ways to break that rhythm. You’ll find that your images will start popping out more. For example, imagine rows of monobloc chairs. A photo of the repeating patterns of white chairs would be boring. A photo of one person sitting on one chair while the rest were empty breaks the pattern and lets your eye center on a subject.

6. Figure to ground – In this case, the subject has a strong contrast against its background; a light subject against a dark background or a dark subject against a light background. A perfect example is a classic silhouette shot.

7. Viewpoint – Try changing your viewpoints. Experiment with shooting from above your head (high angle), near the floor (a low angle), from the hip, etc. You have a lot more options than just shooting at eye level.

8. Depth – Photography being a two-dimensional medium, there are many cases when we have to add depth in a photo. You can do this by including objects in your foreground (closer to the viewer), middle ground, and background.

9. Background – Minding your background really helps in establishing the scene of your photo. Backgrounds can either attract or distract from the subject of the photo.

10. Breaking the rules – Of course, there are times to break the rules. Yes, cliché. Forgive me, but one way to get really good is to learn the rules and know when to break them. By breaking composition rules, you get to experiment with what you’ve learned and apply it to your style.

Below, try to figure out what composition rules or guidelines were used by this week’s featured artists. I’ll include short notes about it in the caption.

Here are the photos:

"Starfish attack!"

“Starfish attack!” Photo by @bipol.er

Here the artist changed his viewpoint by crouching slightly and angling the camera so the starfish could be seen clearly.


“Hey Mister, we finally meet!” Photo by Marco Paulo Diala ( @countocram )

Strong use of those vertical lines, and another artist’s creation incorporated in the shot. Mainly Rule of Thirds and Background.


Photo by Desiree Mae P. Dampios ( @desireemaedumplings )


Perfect use of Leading lines and Figure to ground rules. Rule of thirds also used with the flower along the left vertical line.

"Tiny People, Big Places"

“Tiny People, Big Places” Photo by Wilfredo Jr. ( @willjr42 )

Lines from the container vans converge towards the subjects and also serves as a frame. The two men are positioned along the bottom horizontal line of the Rule of Thirds.

"Let's be afraid of living boring lives. - Osmeña Peak, Cebu, Philippines"

“Let’s be afraid of living boring lives. – Osmeña Peak, Cebu, Philippines” Photo by Raj Belandres ( @rajbelandres )

Not included above, but I love the use of negative space in this photo. It depicts how vast that place is and how little a human is.


Photo by @jenojenno

A classic silhouette shot is a perfect use of the Figure-to-ground rule. The subjects are also off- center to make it dynamic. The lines from the wave and horizon also serve as a leading line to the subject.

"Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, and forget the ones who don't."

“Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, and forget the ones who don’t.” Photo by  Donna Mae Estrada ( @eyaamestrada )

Centered to emphasize the subject. The smiles and hiding of eyes adds to the interest of the photo. The arms also serve to frame their faces and emotions.

"Play time!"

“Play time!” Photo by Selena Yap ( @selenapinote )

Use of the Pattern rule, perfectly done by placing a baby to break the rhythm of repeating objects as well as positioning the baby on the bottom left intersecting point of Rule of Thirds.

"Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold."

“Nobody has ever measured, even the poets, how much a heart can hold.” Photo by Richard John Pozon ( @richardjohnx)

Use of Rule of Thirds by placing the edge of the face just along the right vertical line. Leaving space enough for the subject to gaze. Perfect use of Figure-to-ground rule mixed with the use of the double-exposure technique.

"Get up close and personal."

exposure technique. “Get up close and personal.” Photo by Rod Ruales ( @ninjarod )

Perfect use of the sea surface to create a diptych of sorts. Giving the viewer the best of both worlds. Also take note that the sea surface is positioned on the top horizontal line of Rule of Thirds.

Have something to add? What do you think of this week’s selection? Tell us in the comment box below. 🙂

Click here to see last week’s selections 

Want to be featured? Post your photos between September 11 and September 19 and tag it #032igers for a chance to get selected next Saturday and win Zerothreetwo merchandise for our Best Photo of the Month. 

I hope you enjoy this post. See ya next week!

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