What is composition, exactly? Composition is the arranging of elements in an image or scene in a way that is pleasing and easy to read. Basically, understanding good composition will help you to create more eye-catching content.
Here are some basic composition techniques for you to consider for your next video:
Rule of thirds
The rule of thirds divides the screen into three sections both vertically and horizontally with guide lines.
This rule states that placing a subject or point of interest along one of these lines or one of their intersections makes the overall image more pleasing to look at. A general rule of thumb is to place a subject’s eyes at the top intersection one third of the way down the frame.
Leading lines is a composition technique where lines within an image lead your eye to a specific point.
If you look for them, you’ll find that leading lines are everywhere. Streets and buildings often serve as strong leading lines. Contrasting textures can also help to provide leading lines.
Headroom refers to the distance between the subject’s head and the top of the frame. This amount changes depending on how much space the subject is taking up, but generally you don’t want someone’s head to far away from the top of the frame and you also don’t want to cut them off.
Why is headroom important? You want to give the right amount of headroom; excessive headroom can make the image seem awkward and too little headroom can make the viewer feel claustrophobic.
Traditionally, filmmakers are taught to stay away from symmetry in composition as it can come across as too staged and placing things asymmetrically add more dynamism to an image.
Most notably, Wes Anderson is a director who uses symmetry as part of his distinctive style and shows how visually appealing symmetry can be.
So let me wrap this all up by saying, don’t take this all as gospel. These rules and techniques are here to guide you. But rules are sometimes meant to be broken. Some of the most dynamic and exciting content out there does just that, because it defies expectation. Just be sure to understand the rules you’re breaking!