Composition Basics in Macro Photography

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It’s hard to overstate the importance of composition. For all of the emphasis we as photographers tend to place on which camera, lens or other gear to use, there’s nothing that contributes more to a pleasing image than careful attention to the framing of your subject. In this article I’m going to discuss some of the compositional techniques most applicable to macro photography. I’ll illustrate these with a lot of images, as these concepts are often much easier both to understand and apply with visual examples in mind.

I have already mentioned POV (point of view) in an earlier article as a critical aspect of composition in macro photography. Shooting from the same vantage point as the subject creates a feeling of intimacy which is so important in wildlife imagery.

Lead room

The concept of ‘lead room’ is important in macro as well as other wildlife photography. The idea is that the frame should contain extra space in the direction in which the animal’s eyes are looking. Indeed, having a subject looking at the nearest edge of the frame can be unappealing. The use of appropriate lead room contributes greatly to a sense of balancein the image. Consider the examples below.

This gorgeous strawberry poison dart frog was facing right. I thus positioned it on the left side of the image, and left some lead room to the right.

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