Composition in Photography - Using Triangles

One of the first things to learn in photography is composition. Here we will examine the use of triangles within your compositions.

Firstly – What is composition in Photography?
The word composition means combining or 'putting together’ parts to form a whole.
Composition can apply to many subjects including music and writing – It applies to anything that is arranged or ‘put together’ using conscious thought.

In photography composition is how you arrange the elements of your subject matter within your frame.
For instance, the three images below show different ‘compositions’ of the same subject matter.

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So why use triangles in Photography?
To enhance a feeling of strength. In construction triangles are the strongest shape because any force is evenly spread through all three sides. Take the Egyptian pyramids, or a roof on a house – They are made of triangles. Subconsciously our brains associate triangles to strength.

Below is a picture of a Victorian family taken in the late 1800’s. The family has been arranged in a triangular composition with the man of the house at the top of this triangle. This gives a sense of hierarchy in the family with the top of the triangle (the father) being the strongest. Lots of Victorian family portraits were taken in this way to give an impression of a strong family unit.

Triangles in compostion

Here is a picture that shows a good example of a triangular composition to to enhance a sense of strength. The Russian President Putin by the photographer Platon.
Whatever your personal views on Putin are, this picture really gives the impression of a strong leader. The picture has been taken at a low angle with the model looking down. His arms are out wide enhancing the triangle and it’s been taken quite close to the model with a wide angle lens. This is what makes the hands look big in the foreground of the shot.

President Putin by the photographer Platon

President Putin by the photographer Platon

Even Leonardo da Vinci used a triangle composition in the Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa showing a traingular composition

The Mona Lisa showing a traingular composition

Triangles in composition

Triangles in composition

Your Task should you chose to accept it!

Make someone look powerful by using a triangle composition and when you do tag us in on Facebook or Instagram @theschoolofphotography1 – we love to see your responses to our tasks.

Tips – Get close and use your lens on it’s widest angle. Get low and have your model looking down on you, sitting on a wall or stairs can help. Don’t have any distractions in the background or foreground of the shot.

Good luck!