Many people believe that photography is the most truthful and accurate
representation of three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional field.
Anyone can learn how to take photographs; so what makes a photograph a
successful image? You must understand the basic principles of photographic
composition to evaluate and select images for use in commanding officers
biographies, web pages, change of command brochures, cruise books, and
There are no thumbnail sketches in photographic compositions unless you are
working in a controlled studio atmosphere. In studio environments you
control factors affecting good composition.
In photographic compositions out of the studio area, the scene already exists.
Photographic compositional decisions may have already been made for you
by the environment and your remaining choices may be limited.
Photographic compositions involve manipulation of the following principles
and elements: center of interest, subject placement, simplicity, viewpoint and
camera angle, balance, shapes and lines, pattern, volume, lighting, texture,
tone, contrast, framing, foreground, background, and perspective. Most of
these elements are the same as pictorial compositions, with the exception of
center of interest, subject placement, viewpoint, and camera angle.
Each picture should have one principal idea or subject that is called the center
of interest. Subordinate elements must support, define, and focus attention
on the center of interest. The center of interest should not be located in the
center of the picture area.
Subject placement is the positioning of subjects or the center of interest in the
picture area. In pictorial composition, subject placement relates most closely
with proportion, the division of the picture plane into balanced segments. - In
photographic compositions, there are two formulas for determining subject
placement: the principles of thirds and dynamic symmetry.
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