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  • Writer's pictureAldo

Is Photography Composition an Art or Science?

Leonardo da Vinci 1490 Gallerie dell Accademia Venice Italy. The Great Wave off Kanagawa Print by Hokusai 1829 and 1833. Da Vinci L 1503-1519 Mona Lisa Painting Paris France Musée du Louvre.

Artistic Photography

Millions of people worldwide have access to a camera on their mobile devices. In many cases, those cameras are capable of astonishingly detailed images. Billions of photos are taken each day, but how many are truly artistic? Composition lies at the core of creating photography art but is also challenging to learn. To master composition, you need to delve deeply into your creative side but also have technical knowledge of visual elements, the principles of art and form.

Why Artistic Photos are Important to Us?

If you ask most people, they'll tell you photos have enormous value and significance. Others may not be so interested in them, but photos are a snapshot of your life. They provide a visual glimpse into your life both past and present, and in many ways are a connected collage of your memories and relationships. Photos play a vital role, linking us to our loved ones and reminding us of people, places, and emotions. When you see a personal photograph, it is a window into your experiences and feelings, showing your story and creating more stories for the future. Furthermore, photos are part of your legacy and will outlive you to become engrained within your family.

What Makes a Photo Beautiful?

Beautiful photos are common. In fact, you’ve probably taken a lot of photographs that you think look wonderful. That’s part of the beauty of photography, you can sometimes strike gold without even trying. Still, there is a big difference between getting some beautiful lucky shots and having the tools to take an artistic or professional photo every time. The Wise Camera app and Wise Photos app help you take a beautiful shot every time. Yet there is science behind nailing that perfect memorable photo, including understanding the visual building blocks of a photo through composition rules. As you build towards your own creative vision and seek a photographic style, having a fundamental knowledge of these two elements is essential.

Visual Elements – When you break down an image, you’re left with visual elements. These are shape, line, texture, color, space, tone, and depth.

Composition – Using composition in a photo means you are arranging the visual elements and adhering to the principles of art to find your creative vision.

History of Composition on Art

As noted, the composition is directly related to the principles of art. It is important to remember that the composition is not what the subject of a photo is, but rather the overall artistic impression you want to create. It’s an arrangement of the visual elements to create a piece of art. Composition is not exclusive to photography and has shaped art across genres for centuries. Claude Monet is amongst the most renowned and respected artists ever, and his use of compositional flair when painting cannot be underestimated. Indeed, Monet’s understanding of compositions is what makes his relatively basic subject matter so spectacular. His use of horizon lines, muted palettes, and pathways (both linear and curved) allow his simple scenery to become lively and vibrant. Looking more specifically at photography, Michael Kenna is a good example of how simple composition principles translate to landscape photography. Simplicity is the goal for Kenna’s famous black and white shots, particularly in terms of removing unwanted objects from the frame. By using symmetry and the rule of thirds, Kenna often uses the horizon as the central focus of his photos. He also uses optical center techniques to allow his images to capture the natural resting position of the human eye.

Frame depth - Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden 1866 oil canvas Private collection
Frame depth - Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden 1866 oil canvas Private collection

Landscape depth - Claude Monet  Banks of the Seine Vétheuil 1880
Landscape depth - Claude Monet Banks of the Seine Vétheuil 1880

What are Photography Composition Rules?

You might think art and rules do not play well together. Sure, art as well as photography is about free-thinking and allowing your creative juices to flow. However, all art requires some fundamental principles to function, photography is no different. Composition rules are the underpinning of an artistic photo.

"You got to know the rules first to break them"

Without applying composition, a photograph is simply a picture showing a collection of objects. If you apply composition techniques creatively, your photos become artistic expressions. Understanding that concept is simple enough but mastering composition and knowing when to apply specific techniques requires talent, practice, and patience. Composition rules are easy to define but tough to use successfully. You’re not looking for a photo that’s just a lucky collection of objects and subjects. Instead, you want to bring meaning to your photos by making artistic decisions. Only by considering composition rules can you achieve this goal consistently.

Wise Camera and Wise Photos apps

Whether you’re a novice beginning your artistic photography adventure or are a professional looking for an automated way to use compositions, the Wise Camera and Wise Photos apps will help. Wise Camera and Wise Photos take care of the complex science of composition, leaving you to focus on making beautiful photos. The Wise Camera app includes 12 composition rules. With Wise Camera, you can apply composition rules in real-time in the viewfinder of the Wise Camera, which makes it ideal for photographers looking to implement composition rules when taking photos. Wise Camera supports the idea that great photography starts with mindful composition, so developing an artistic vision is an essential goal of the app. If you’re a beginner, Wise Camera is a useful tool, as each composition comes with a guide detailing how the rule can be used.

"Great photography starts with mindful composition"

Wise Camera Fibonacci Spiral
Wise Camera Fibonacci Spiral

With the Wise Photos app, you have the ability to apply composition rules to the photos you already have taken with the iPhone, iPad, or any camera like Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Sony, and more. You select a photo stored in your Apple Photo library, select the composition, and save the photo after you've aligned it to the composition rule. Wise Photos gives you the power to create truly amazing and individual photos. As Wise Photos can be used as the first step in photography post-processing, we have made it iPad-ready, so you have a large canvas to work on.

Wise Photos in the iPad
Wise Photos in the iPad


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