Composition of Pictures

Sometimes, we instinctively find a picture as beautiful.

When you compose a picture, you are arranging the subject matter so that the picture becomes unified, well balanced and pleasing to the eye.

With the proper composition, it can make a big difference from being just a picture and becoming a work of art.

There are many basic compositional types. Below are some of them. You can even combine some of the composition forms to make your pictures stand out. The basic compositional forms are as follows:

  • Steelyard – A large mass balanced by a smaller mass, the latter being placed closer to the opposite edge of the picture.



  • L shaped – A large vertical mass on one side balanced by an expanse of sky, sea, or land on the other side.



  • Grouped mass – Several masses of varying forms, values and color grouped together in one pleasing design.


    Group Mass

  • 3 spots – A picture containing 3 or more points of attraction which is pleasingly balanced.


    3 Spot

  • Silhouette – Masses of darks against a lighter background, or masses of lights against a darker background.



  • Tunnel – A view through a doorway, arches, or trees like a tunnel, with the main interest at the end.



  • Pattern – A decorative arrangement of light and dark areas forming a pleasing overall design, often without any special center of interest.



  • Golden mean – A classic composition form that produces the most pleasing proportions and locates the ideal center of interest.


    Golden Mean

  • S curve – An arrangement in which a major line, mass or space between masses forms a gentle compound curve resembling the letter S.


    S curve

  • Circular shape – A circular design created by placing masses, edges and lines that causes the eye to find the central area.


    Circular shape

  • U shape – A picture with large vertical masses on each side connected by a strong horizontal.


    U shape

  • Diagonal line – A picture with a major diagonal line, usually counterbalanced by an opposing diagonal or vertical.


    Diagonal line

  • Triangle shape – A picture where the group masses, spots or lines forms a triangular shape.


    Triangle shape

  • Cross – A picture in which a major vertical line crosses a major horizontal.


    Cross shape

  • Radiating line – A pattern of radiating or converging lines leading to the center of interest.


    Radiating Lines

  • Balanced scale – A picture where the main center of interest is located at the middle and equal masses of lesser importance are located on each side.


    Balance shape

Experiment and try them out. They will improve your pictures.