Understanding composition and how to use it to create a photograph is one of the most important skills for a photographer to master. It is important to your photographs for a number of reasons, the key one being to establish a route through your image. A path the viewers eye can natuarlly follow. Composition can create mood and help tell a story.
I don't always stick strictly to the rules of composition, but the rules are well worth knowing so you can follow them, or break them. Here are my top 9 landscape photography composition rules that might be helpful for those just starting out.
1. Rule of Thirds
Divides the frame into equal thirds 1:1:1
Place important elements in the images along the lines
Place points of interest on the intersections
2. Rule of Phi
Know as the Golden ratio
Phi is similar to the Rule of Thirds but instead of dividing the frame into equal thirds, the frame is split into sections resulting in a grid which is 1:0.681:1. This produces a set of interesting lines that are closer to the centre of the frame.
3. Leading Lines
Use natural lines to lead into the image
Diagonal lines can create great movement
5. Subject to ground
Find a contrast between the subject and the background
6. Patterns and repetition
Patterns are aesthetically pleasing
But it can be best when the pattern is interrupted
Symmetry is pleasing to the eye
8. Fill the frame
Don't be afraid to get close to the subject to fill the frame
9. Rules are made to be broken!