Creativity Exercise: Centre Composition

One of the things we’re often told when we start learning photography is to avoid centre composition like the plague. That it’s boring and uninspired.

Ok. somewhat true.

But, I’d argue that you can achieve really interesting centre compositions if you do so intentionally and thoughtfully.

This week, for your creativity exercise, I encourage you to work on centre composition. Maybe that means that you come away with one image that you really love or maybe it means you have a whole handful of new favourites. Either way, this week is about trying this way of composing your images and seeing how it feels for you. Work on making your images still have context, story, and visual interest so that your viewer barely even notices that the image is centre composed.

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Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work on centre composition:

  1. Leading lines are still your friend! Just like in the rule of thirds, leading lines can help immensely in centre compositions. The lines help draw your viewer’s eye straight to your subjects, making it very clear what the viewer should be focusing on. The lines can also serve as a bit of visual interest on either side of your subject.

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2. Symmetry. Centre comp makes my symmetry loving brain so happy. Adding symmetry to an image can make it feel really calm. Depending on your situation, you can gain left/right symmetry (the most common if shooting landscape orientation) and you can also sometimes get top/bottom symmetry with reflections.

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3. Framing. One of the easiest ways to add visual interest to an image is to utilize framing. With centre composition that can mean using a window or doorway (to keep that symmetry!), or using other elements in the foreground to add visual interest to the frame.

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4. Simplicity. Although as photographers we are often trying add visual interest or to use extra elements to make an image captivating, sometimes simplicity is the way to go. Let your subject’s personality shine through and be the total focus. When I’m doing a more classic portrait I really like using centre composition to keep everything really focused and the intention clear. Keep in mind though, when you’re shooting like this, you need to be technically on-point or it’l be really obvious (i.e. make sure eyes are in focus!).

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As always, we’d love to see what you come up with this week! If you share on IG make sure to us #unscriptedmentoring so that we can find you!

- Kelly