The art of photography follows quite simple and basic rules. These rules allow for stronger visual communication to flow from your perspective to the viewer with ease. These rules are put in place to create visual strong compositions and all play in relation to one another. Here are some of the simple principles of photographic design that will help with any beginner or amateur photographer.
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds, on a non-technical level, essentially means not placing the subject of the photo directly in the center. The rule can be explained by breaking apart any image into 6 equal squares, with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. A successful design would have the focus anywhere else other than the center square of the image. The reason for this rule is to avoid visual stagnation in a given photograph.
Balancing the composition will allow for strong fluidity throughout the image. Visual weight can throw off the balance of a photograph. When abiding by the rule of thirds and putting your subject off-center, you must find a way to balance out the opposite side. It can leave an image feeling empty. For the rule of balance, the visual weight of a given subject should sometimes include another object of lesser importance to help fill the space and ground the photo as a whole.
This is a simple rule of composition that can add flow throughout your image. Leading lines are bold visual lines that guide the eye throughout the composition. They are called leading lines because they are lines that literally lead the eye. For example, an interesting angle of telephone wires in a street can have leading lines that add not only movement but the depth to a given image.
Repetition or pattern in a photo also ties into the idea of leading lines. The concept of repetition in an image can visually give you both depth and flow in a photograph. A great example of repetition that would benefit the composition of a photo would be stepping stones in a river. The lead the eye while also giving the perception of depth.
Simplify & Focus
Many amateur photographers try to get everything in their image. A strong photographer gives their viewer a clear idea of what they need to be looking at. Simply your image by focusing on a subject and do not distract the eye from the subject. Allow for strong clarity in your images.