10 Composition Techniques for Better Photography
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Balancing Elements
  3. Leading Lines
  4. Symmetry and Patterns
  5. Viewpoint
  6. Background
  7. Depth
  8. Framing
  9. Cropping
  10. Experimentation

Every great photo tells a story, and behind that story are the advanced composition techniques for photography. These techniques aren't just rules to follow, but more like secret ingredients to make your photos stand out. This blog will walk you through 10 such techniques that can transform your approach to photography. So, whether you're a seasoned photographer or just getting started, these tips will help you capture better, more compelling images. Let's get started!

Rule of Thirds

First on our list is the 'Rule of Thirds'. It's not just a rule but a powerful tool that can bring balance and interest to your shots. Imagine breaking an image down into thirds—horizontally and vertically—so you have nine parts in total. This gives you a grid on your viewfinder.

The idea behind this technique is to position the important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect. It's about not always placing your subject right smack in the middle of the frame. Instead, try placing it off-center for a more balanced, natural feel. Here's how you can apply it:

  • Landscapes: Try positioning the horizon line along one of the horizontal lines of thirds, rather than in the middle of the frame. You can decide to give more prominence to either the sky or the ground based on what's more interesting.
  • Portraits: Place the person's eyes along the top horizontal line, and off to one side.
  • Still life: Position your object at one of the intersections of the lines for a more dynamic composition.

Remember, rules are meant to be broken. The Rule of Thirds is a guideline to help you, not limit you. Don't be afraid to play around with it and see what works best for your style of photography.

Balancing Elements

Next up in our list of advanced composition techniques for photography is 'Balancing Elements'. This technique is all about creating a harmonious balance in your shots. When you place a subject off-center using the Rule of Thirds, it can create a 'visual weight'. This weight can make one side of the photo feel heavier than the other.

So, how do you balance it out? You can add another object of lesser importance to fill the space. This secondary subject is often referred to as the 'balancing element'. It helps to counteract the weight of the main subject. Here's how you can apply it:

  • Landscapes: If you have a lone tree on one side of the image, you might include a smaller cluster of trees in the distance on the other side to balance it out.
  • Portraits: If the person is off to one side, try including something like a building, a tree, or even a splash of color on the other side to bring balance.
  • Still life: If you are photographing a single object, place something smaller in the background or off to the side to offset the visual weight.

Remember, balance doesn't always mean symmetry. Sometimes, an asymmetrical balance can add interest and complexity to your photo. It's all about playing with the elements and finding what works best for your image.

Leading Lines

It's time to focus on 'Leading Lines', another one of our advanced composition techniques for photography. This technique involves using the natural lines in a shot to guide the viewer's eye towards the main subject. These lines can be anything from a winding road to a stream, or even a fence. They create a visual narrative and a sense of direction in your photographs.

So, how can you use leading lines effectively?

  • Find the lines: Start by looking for natural or man-made lines in your surroundings. These could be footpaths, buildings, rivers, or even the horizon.
  • Placement matters: Once you've found your line, consider where to place it. A line coming from the corner of the frame and leading towards your subject can be particularly effective.
  • Play with perspective: Don't be afraid to change your viewpoint or angle to get the perfect leading line. Sometimes, a bird's eye view or a low angle can make all the difference.

Remember, leading lines are there to guide your viewer, not distract them. Keep it subtle, and make sure it enhances the story you're trying to tell with your image.

Symmetry and Patterns

Now, let's talk about 'Symmetry and Patterns', another one of the key advanced composition techniques for photography. Both symmetry and patterns can add a powerful visual impact to your photos, creating a sense of harmony and aesthetically pleasing balance.

But how can you effectively utilize symmetry and patterns in your photography? Here are a few tips:

  • Spotting the Symmetry: Symmetry is everywhere. From buildings to nature, once you start looking for it, you'll see it. Try to capture this balance in your shots.
  • Pattern Recognition: Similar to symmetry, patterns are all around us. Whether it's a row of trees or a stack of books, patterns provide a sense of order in your images.
  • Break the Pattern: While patterns can be pleasing, a break in the pattern can make your image more interesting. It adds a point of interest and grabs the viewer's attention.

Remember, the key to effectively using symmetry and patterns in your photography is to practice your observation skills. The more you look for these elements, the more naturally they'll find their way into your compositions. So, keep an eye out!


Another one of the advanced composition techniques for photography is changing your viewpoint. The angle or perspective from which you shoot can dramatically affect your photograph. It can make an ordinary scene look extraordinary. Let's dive into it.

  • High Viewpoint: A high viewpoint means you're shooting from above the subject. This can provide a bird's eye view, making everything look small and compact, and can give a fresh perspective on familiar settings.
  • Low Viewpoint: On the other hand, a low viewpoint means shooting from below the subject. This makes your subject look larger than life and can add a sense of drama or power to your photos.
  • Eye Level: This is the most common viewpoint—shooting at the eye level of the subject. But remember, the eye level of a person is different from that of a pet or a child. Mixing it up can create more engaging shots.

So, next time you're out with your camera, don't just stand in one spot. Move around, climb up high, or get down low. Experiment with different viewpoints to see how it changes the composition and mood of your photos. Happy shooting!


Let's move on to another advanced composition technique for photography that's often overlooked: the background. The background of your shot can make or break your photo. It can either add depth and context to your image, or it can distract from your subject. So, how can you ensure your backgrounds enhance your photos instead of ruining them? Here's how:

  • Simplicity: A simple, uncluttered background allows your subject to be the star of the show. It reduces distractions and puts the focus squarely on your subject.
  • Context: Sometimes, the background can provide valuable context to your image. For instance, a cityscape behind a person can tell you they're in an urban setting. But be careful not to let the background overpower the main subject.
  • Depth: Using a shallow depth of field can blur the background, making your subject stand out. This technique is often used in portraits and macro photography.

So, next time you're framing a shot, don't forget to pay attention to what's behind your subject. A carefully chosen background can make a huge difference in your compositions. Keep practicing, and you'll master this technique in no time!


Another essential tool in your advanced composition techniques for photography toolkit is creating depth. In real life, we see the world in three dimensions, but a photo is a two-dimensional representation. So, how do you bring a sense of depth to a flat image? Here are some pointers:

  • Layering: Use different elements in your foreground, middle ground, and background. This layering technique gives a sense of distance and can make your photo more interesting.
  • Overlap: When objects overlap, the ones in front seem closer, creating a sense of depth. So, try to compose your shot in a way where some elements overlap.
  • Shadows and highlights: They can also enhance depth. A play of light and shadow can give a 3D feel to 2D images.

Remember, creating depth in your photos can make them more appealing and realistic. It's like inviting your viewers to step into the scene. So, next time you take a photo, think about how you can add depth to it. Happy shooting!


Ever thought about how a simple photo frame can enhance the beauty of a picture? That's exactly what the technique of framing does in photography. It's one of those advanced composition techniques for photography that can turn an ordinary shot into an extraordinary one. Here's how you can do it:

  • Natural frames: Look around you. Nature is full of frames. It could be a tree branch, a cave entrance, or even a rainbow. Using these natural elements as a frame can add a whole new perspective to your shot.
  • Architectural frames: Buildings, windows, doorways can all serve as excellent frames. They help draw attention to the subject and can make your composition more engaging.
  • Using objects: Sometimes, even everyday objects like a mirror, a glass, or a fence can become a creative frame. The key is to think out of the box and experiment.

Remember, the frame doesn't always have to be around the edges of your photo. It can be anywhere in the composition as long as it helps focus attention on your subject. So, next time you go out with your camera, keep an eye out for potential frames. They might just be the missing piece in your photography puzzle.


Have you ever taken a picture and then wished you could just remove some of the unnecessary parts? That's where cropping comes in handy. It's one of those advanced composition techniques for photography that can transform a mediocre photo into a masterpiece. Here's how to use it effectively:

  • Eliminate distractions: If there's something in your photo that's taking attention away from your main subject, crop it out. When in doubt, remember this: less is often more.
  • Improve composition: Cropping can help you apply other composition techniques like the Rule of Thirds or Balancing Elements, even after you've taken the shot. It's like a second chance to get your composition right.
  • Change the aspect ratio: Want your photo to fit perfectly on Instagram or your blog? Cropping lets you change the aspect ratio of your image to fit different platforms.

Cropping is like a magic wand that can instantly improve your photos. But remember, it's not about making your photos smaller, it's about making them better. So, next time you're not quite satisfied with your shot, don't be quick to discard it. Try cropping it first. You might be pleasantly surprised by the result.


Every great artist was once a daring experimenter. The same holds true for photography. Experimentation is the key to discovering your unique style and mastering advanced composition techniques for photography.

  • Push boundaries: Don't be afraid to break some rules. The Rule of Thirds is a great guideline, but sometimes centering your subject can create a more powerful image. Remember, rules are there as guides, not chains.
  • Try new techniques: Ever tried shooting from a low angle, or using a reflective surface as your background? New techniques can bring a fresh perspective to your photos and keep your work exciting.
  • Use different equipment: If you always shoot with your DSLR, try using your smartphone for a change. Each piece of equipment can offer different possibilities and challenges.

Photography is an art, and every artist needs to experiment to grow. So, don't just stick to what you know. Dare to try something new. Who knows, you might find a technique or style that you absolutely love.

If you enjoyed our blog post on composition techniques for better photography and want to delve even deeper, don't miss the workshop 'Tips To Compose More Compelling Photos' by Austin James Jackson. This workshop will provide you with even more tips and tricks to elevate your photography skills and make your images stand out from the crowd.