The various components of a picture put together in a proper manner is called composition. The composition should always convey a message or information and it should be an overall impact to the viewers. The whole idea is to convey a concept or information for which a painting or drawing is suitable, but a photograph will carry more impact. To provide more impact to the viewers the subject should be arranged in a proper manner by differentiating the elements available while shooting the photograph. If this happens properly the entire meaning of the photograph changes completely.
PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION
By carefully analyzing the pictures of great photographers, a fair bit of knowledge could be acquired which in turn help us to compose some great pictures effectively.
These are only guidelines to show the path and definitely not rigid rules. It is not necessary to use too many elements to compose a picture and with some simple composition great pictures are created.
The following elements are necessary while creating a pictorial photograph
- Lines in the picture
- The frame of the picture
Monochrome is a best example to discuss about tones. In monochrome prints, the total range of tones extends from deep white to deep black, with many intermediary grey tones. The tones are derived from the reflected light of the objects. Middle grey tones give a sense of unity to the picture. Contrast tones exhibit vitality and vigor and it can be enhanced by placing the pure white against the pure black. This arrangement is called emphasis. Lack of contrast in a picture gives harmonious and peaceful feeling. Hence, the tonal selection should depend on the mood of the picture. Harmonious placing of various gradual tones gives a sense of pleasure to a picture. If tones are manipulated in such a way as to leave deliberately something for the imagination, it renders a sense of mystery or question to the picture.
The lines could be either straight or curved one. In general the picture is viewed as an arrangement of lines uniting into the rectangle of the frame. The structural lines are the outlines of objects forming the boundary of the mass in the picture. The lines of movement are not necessarily represented continuously. There might be interruptions in which the objects are moving, but still shows continuity, are called the lines of movement. There are two types of lines of movement. They are
- The line of movement of objects
- Visual movements
Lines need not be straight - they may be curved or angular. Straight lines indicate courage and vitality. Curves suggest sweetness and grace. The pattern of lines may be vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Diagonal lines suggest movement of action. Sometimes there may be some lines running contradictory to the main lines of the picture. This pattern, if it is mild, eases the picture and pacifies the monotony. When two lines cut each other, they form angles. The angles may be a cute or obtuse. Horizontal, vertical, obtuse angles and broad curves introduce a sense of excitement and drama of movement. If the lines are repeated in a particular manner, it emphasizes the meaning but does not add to the picture. Smooth line structures attract the gaze of the viewer. The lines in a picture can be arranged in the following manner to give rise to the following compositions.
1. Circular Composition:
Circle indicates eternity which shows something eternal and existing forever.
2. Radial Composition:
Starting from a point and radiating in different directions.
3. Crucial Composition:
Horizontal and vertical lines forming like a cross. It depicts punishment and suffering.
4. 'L' Shape Composition:
The two elements of vertical and horizontal are mixed either at the base or top.
5. Pyramidal Composition:
Triangular formation giving weight to the three vertices in pyramidal composition.
6. Balance Composition:
Having the right balance in the composition.
Apart from lines there are spaces available in a picture. Shapes of spaces and their relative positions create interest in the picture. If a picture is held upside down, we will not see the picture but can observe the distribution of spaces. The spaces should not be symmetrically aligned but differently positioned. This distribution is very important in a picture.
The height of frame depicts quietness and peace. Square frame has no emotional significance at all. In the frame if large spaces are left empty, it emphasizes calmness and serenity. Serpentine and curvilinear formations give continuous variation and continuity to the view. Harmony, Rhythm and balancing are necessary to make a good picture. Centre of interest can also be the principal subject, and is achieved by the prominence of the tones or leading lines. If the principal subject is placed in any of the circled positions it gets more prominence.
A certain amount of balance has to be incorporated while making a picture and it is divided mainly into three sections
- Tonal balance
- Balance of lines
- Balance of placing the subject
- Factual harmony: The facts presented in a picture should harmonize but not distracting
- Harmony of lines: The balancing should not be too strong or too equal.
- Hormony of tones: The tones should be harmoniously blended but not in a haphazard manner.
- Rhythm: The eye-movement while viewing a picture must be free, easy and should be pleasing.
- Unity in picture: There should not be more than one centre of interest in a picture or no division in centre of interest.
- Infinity: The viewer of the picture must be able to build up something from the picture even thought it is not directly present in the picture.
- Impact of the picture: A good picture must be able to impress and demand attention out of all the other pictures. The basic step in the process is to look, to see and to enjoy.
- Intrest in the picture: This can be divided into three major parts such as subject interest, pattern interest and tonal interest. Emotional response must be aroused from the picture.
- Enjoyment of a Picture: It is not only the context of the picture, but the eye-movement must be easy along with contours of the picture of tonal gradations. The movement of eye gets hindered by too many light traps. There may be minor hindrances. That are easy to overcome and some times such small hindrances could cause more enjoyment.
- Tactile Quality: Apart from the definite principal object, there may be milder conforming patterns. This acts like echoes and emphasizes the subject.
Thus a good picture must be perfect in the tones, with the lines of the picture leading to the centre of interest with all easy path and good entry into the picture enclosed in a suitable frame. The picture must be well balanced with harmony, rhythm and unity and should be able to arrest the attention of the viewer arousing some sentiment or thought. The composition must help to the enjoyment of the viewer.