Life Scout Steven Neel, 13, from Mesa, Ariz., practices his roping on the Troop 2022 gateway at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Thursday July 29, 2010. Photo by Mark Duncan

Composition is really a collection of techniques that photographers use to direct the viewer’s eye to the areas of the picture the photographer wishes to emphasize. Often the subject matter itself suggests a particular technique. The picture on the left illustrates the Rule of Thirds, which is really an easy way to get your subject out of the center of the frame. Techniques are not applied strictly and with every pictures. Sometimes it is desirable to have your subject centered, particularly with subjects having symmetrical design. In that case you would not use the Rule of Thirds.

Many techniques are described here with examples. See how they are applied in real pictures by reading about them and looking at examples.

Often a picture will use more than one eye-catching technique. Once you explore them, you will see how they will apply to your own images.

Explore the many composition techniques using the menu at the right margin.