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These are the seven rules (guidelines) to cinematic framing and composition


Composition is always such a hotly debated topic. There are so many “rules” (and sometimes a few that conflict with each other), but unless you want to start getting yourself obsessively wrapped up in those debates, you have to think of them more as guidelines. But they’re guidelines that we often see followed to great effect in many movies, TV shows, and photographs. Do you know why? Well, it’s because they often work.

In this video, Kellan Reck walks us through seven of what he considers to be the most important rules, tips and tricks to get a good cinematic looking shot. And while the video is geared towards filmmaking, much of what is said can be applied to photography, too.

You might find that you’ve heard these “rules” before, but it sometimes helps to see the same guidelines explained multiple different ways in order to see a perspective you might not have come across before. And whether you consciously follow them in your own work or not, I’ll be a lot of what you’ve shot lives up to some of these.

  • 00:00 – Why Framing and Composition Are Important
  • 00:43 – The Most Important RULE – Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, the Rule of Thirds
  • 02:57 – Using Lines to Direct Your Viewers’ Eyes
  • 03:50 – Finding Balance
  • 05:30 – Symmetry
  • 06:15 – How to Achieve Depth
  • 07:24 – Finding A Frame Within A Frame
  • 08:11 – Subject Emphasis

The great thing about composition, no matter how you feel about its “rules”, is that it’s the one thing you can really work on and practise without having to buy any new gear or spend any money. These are the kinds of things you can do with any camera, even your phone and no matter how good you think your composition is, there are almost always ways in which you can learn to improve and adapt your existing approach to help you tackle new subjects.

And if you’re new to photography or filmmaking and just starting to figure out your composition, these guidelines are good ones to learn. Once you understand them and how they work, you can more easily understand how to break them to make your shot even more effective than it otherwise would have been.

What compositional code do you live by?





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