Creating well-balanced image compositions

What makes a picture a good picture, a perfect picture? Is it the subject, the colour, the camera, the angle of the shot, the post -processing? There are many crucial factors involved. One of the most important is the image composition. The image composition is the structure of a picture. What elements are integrated into a picture, how do they interact and how does the viewer perceive them.

In the e-commerce sector, for example, a skilful composition is important for product presentation. Unlike in a real store, the features, quality and function of a product can only be conveyed online through visual representations and additional descriptions. In many cases, products are displayed alone, frame-filling and against a neutral background. This type of representation is required to upload product images at marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. Often it is also possible to integrate images that put the products in an explanatory and/or emotional context. On your own website, in your own online shop or in the field of advertising this is always possible. The decisive factor is a well-balanced picture composition.

The Rule of Thirds

In many good pictures, the main subject is not in the centre, but on the left or right in the picture. The so-called “rule of thirds” is used. The picture is divided into nine equal segments. Two horizontal lines divide the image horizontally into three equal areas. Two vertical lines divide the image vertically into three equal areas. The resulting grid is a good tool to position the main subject within the image. The intersections where the lines cross are optimal for a harmonious composition. The rule of third is based on the Golden Ratio, but much easier to implement and is supported by many camera models with a practical grid mode.

Br24 Blog Image composition: Rule of Thirds - Young man and boy sit with their skateboards at a skateboard ramp

Perspective and depth

Eye level, straight from the front. This classic perspective is found in many pictures. This often works very well, but it can quickly become boring. For a more exciting composition it is worthwhile to try new perspectives, for example, frog perspective from below, bird’s-eye view from above or a side view. At the same time, this gives the pictures more depth. More depth can also be achieved by dividing the image into foreground, middle ground and background as well as the skilful use of sharpness and blur. For example, a blurred background adds some depth and at the same ensures less distraction from the main subject. It is important that the main subject always remains in focus and the use of perspective and depths supports the composition.

Br24 Blog Image composition: Perspective and depth - side view Diamond ring in front of blurred yellow background

Colours, patterns and textures

Structures are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also support the image composition. This can be achieved through colours, patterns, textures, contrasts, or eye-catching details. For example, a coloured main subject stands out against a monochrome background. It is important to use colours, patterns, etc. that not only look good but support the main subject positively. In addition, colours cause certain associations. Blue has a calming effect, green stands for natural and red is energetic. Two or three main colours in one picture are enough. During post-processing, colours can be selectively enhanced by colour corrections. Also, lines that lead through an image affect the image composition.

Br24 Blog Image composition: Colour, pattern and texture - pink sneakers against background in three different shades of pink

Main subject in focus

Accessories, decorations etc. support the image composition and direct the view in a certain direction. At the same time, appropriate props put the main subject in context, be it to convey the use of a product or a particular lifestyle. “Less is more” always applies. Too many elements in one picture distract the viewer’s attention. Therefore, only elements should be integrated which support the main subject and the message of the image as well as contribute to the image composition.

Br24 Blog image composition: Main subject - yellow swimsuit with other accessories such as hat, pineapple, sandals

Composition with clippings

The image composition plays an important role not only at the time of taking a picture. Creating a successful composition is also possible afterwards. During composing, also called photo montage, two or more single elements (clippings and alpha maskings) are merged into completely new images. The highest precision and quality are decisive for a good composition. This creates images with a very special dynamic.