Photo by Damon Lam on Unsplash
Golden Mean/Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds or Golden Mean as some call it is when a photographer purposely divides his/her photos into thirds in order to attract more attention from the viewer to the subject of his/her photo. The photographer adds visual balance to the photo by photographing the subject on the lines or intersections of one of these thirds rather than in the center of the photo.

Balancing Elements

There is a variety of balancing elements within photography that have the ability to add visual balance to a photo through various means of symmetry, as well as radial balance, balance through color and value, and balance through contrasts in value or tonal balance.

Leading lines are lines within a photograph meant to lead the viewer's eyes in a certain direction of interest or to a focal point. There are different types of lines: horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and converging lines.

Symmetry and patterns capture the viewer’s attention. Symmetry is when the photo is divided into equal weights. Patterns help to add visual rhythm to photos.


Viewpoint is how something is viewed; it is a perspective. Some things are viewed up close, some things are viewed farther away, and some things are viewed at different angles.

The background is what lays behind the subject. It is the scene in which the photo takes place.


Depth is the distance between the closest object in the photo versus the farthest object.


Framing draws attention to a part of the photo by blocking parts of the photo out through the use of archways, windows, etc.

Cropping eliminates the unwanted parts of a photo. The goal of cropping is to ultimately improve the composition of a photo.


The composition of a photograph is the arrangement of elements within a frame. It directs the viewer’s eye to a particular part of the photo with supporting balancing elements. The composition of a photo is made up of lines, shapes, colors, textures, rhythm, proportion, movement, ratios, and overall balance. It is the placement of objects in relation to one another to create visual balance, rhythm, and ultimately, a work of art.