In painting or drawing, it’s up to the artist to dream up a scene. Photographers are simply capturing or arranging what already exists. Framing is essentially what makes the camera an artistic tool. Here are a few methods to get you started creating good composition.
Rule of Thirds
The most basic composition rule involves dividing the frame into 9 squares. The points where these squares intersect are where the subject goes. The middle horizontal lines can also be used to place the subject.
The Golden Triangle
This sort of builds upon the rule of thirds. Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Then, pick one side and draw another line coming out of the middle points. Finally, fill two of the triangles up with the subject, following the longest diagonal line.
The Golden Spiral
The golden spiral has roots in geometry that I can barely understand. What makes the golden spiral so attractive is natural balance. Examples of the golden spiral can be found in seashells, a rose, hurricanes, and even spiral galaxies. It can take quite a bit of practice to start applying the golden spiral into your photos, but for starters you can simply apply what’s called the Phi Grid. Instead of 9 equal squares, this grid applies the golden ratio formula to divide the lines into what some believe creates a more pleasing composition in landscape photography.
Just ask a plastic surgeon about the appeal of symmetry. Humans programmed to look for and desire symmetry. Some of the most obvious examples of symmetry lie in architecture. Practice creating symmetry by shooting some skyscrapers or government buildings. Mirroring is also a great way to generate some symmetry. Try grabbing a nice reflection from the puddles after the next time it rains.