The elements of design are building blocks to make your photos stronger and tie your composition together. Here are a few principles to keep in mind when looking through your viewfinder or in your LCD.
• Balance. Placing one large item against several small ones creates balance; so does using negative space on the other side of the subject.
• Repetition. Repeating something in an image can make the scene more active and also create a pattern.
• Rhythm. Intervals between elements that are similar in size or length can be used to create a sense of organized movement.
• Contrast. Juxtaposing opposing elements—dark and light, soft and hard, vertical and horizontal—against each other can set up visual tension, making the image much more interesting.
ADAPTED FROM LIGHTING PHOTO WORKSHOP BY CHRIS BUCHER (WILEY, $30; 2007)