One of the best compositions you can apply to your compositions: triangles.
London, NYC, Kyoto, Tokyo:
Find infinite inspiration in photography from the masters:
1. Triangle portrait and reflections
In this composition by Henri Cartier-Bresson, you can see the triangle composition between the man, statue, and his reflection:
2. Triangle composition of monks, by Henri Cartier-Bresson
3. Vertical triangle composition by Henri Cartier-Bresson
This is interesting, to see how we can create triangle compositions from pictures in frames — because the human eye is always drawn to faces.
Also note in this vertical (portrait) orientation, you can also see how your eyes are led throughout the frame, in a zig-zag path, starting from the bottle of wine in the foreground, to the middle of the frame, then the very top:
4. Chiaroscuro (shadow play) in museum by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Note the triangle composition here:
What I like most about this composition is the dynamic directions that all the eyes of the subjects and statues are looking at.
Lesson: Our eyes follow and track the direction of the subjects in pictures.
5. Sergio Larrain and movement of subjects
In this photo by Sergio Larrain, you can see the triangle composition between the three subjects.
The best part — they are all walking different directions, which creates dynamic tension in the frame:
Also note the framing — the depth Sergio Larrain adds by having the wall in the far right of the frame (red), and the background and foreground:
6. Matisse triangle composition with three subjects
7. Triangle composition with elbows and arm gestures
Another triangle composition from Matisse, this time focusing on the shapes and forms of the elbows and arms of a person.
Here is the drawing abstracted into blue:
Imagining if the whole shape was just a red triangle:
Or a blue triangle, with sharper edges:
With the blue triangle overlaid:
When shooting triangles, some tips:
- Create triangle composition by spacing out three subjects in different parts of the frame.
- Create triangle composition with hand gestures, and arm/elbow gestures
- Discover the triangles after you’ve made the photo, as a way to choose (edit) your best work.
Learn more about composition
For a primer, see COMPOSITION 101, or these new articles:
Also, access the free street photography beginners guide >
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