Dive into the art of storytelling through photography with Sonja Koch. Discover how to use composition basics to create visually stunning narratives that captivate your audience.

Ever wondered how to use composition to tell a richer story with your photos? Today we’ll find out more about composition basics from the winner of the #madewithluminar weekly Instagram Contest Sonja Koch, a landscape, outdoor, and nature photographer based in Saarbrüecken, Germany. 

Sonja shared in a recent Instagram post how she incorporates her knowledge of composition into a series of images edited using Luminar Neo. Using Sonja’s rules of composition, you’ll be able to enhance your visual narratives, telling a more compelling story. Here’s how she goes about photographing Italy’s mountainscapes. 

“I woke early and drove to Alpe di Siusi on a summer day,” Sonja writes. “Walking through the darkness and twilight, I could already see what a wonderful mood awaited me. My expectations were far exceeded, and I was so excited that I didn’t know where to take photos first with all that beauty.”

“I wanted to create an image with a great atmosphere and dramatic appearance,“ she adds. “In this sense, my education as a media designer helped me understand that there are common compositional traits that help you nail a visual narrative, whether in graphic design or photography.”

Here are the rules that Sonja finds most important:

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1. Incorporate Lines

Lines are fundamental elements shaping a scene’s visual narrative, so Sonja incorporates them, whether they appear as winding paths or rivers, to guide the viewer and infuse the composition with a sense of motion and unity.

2. Include Shapes

Similarly, lines frequently converge to form distinctive shapes within the frame. These shapes can range from artificial geometric patterns present in architecture, to organic forms naturally occurring in the environment, such as ridges. When used well, they give structure to your images. 

3. Add Depth Through Forms

In addition, Sonja often enhances shapes by imbuing them with three-dimensional depth. Having a foreground, middle ground, and background helps. And Sonja finds that by reducing the lights and adjusting the contrasts, a photo appears deeper. 

4. Utilize Positive Space

Creativity flourishes when utilizing positive space — the main subject — to create a sense of depth, leading the eyes through the image, or employing negative space — the surrounding background — to emphasize a distant shape against the backdrop, drawing attention with subtlety. 

5. Enhance the Richness of Texture 

Finally, Sonja focuses on the tactile quality of surfaces to add depth and richness to the composition. Various techniques can enhance texture, such as utilizing natural elements like rugged rocks, or employing post-processing methods to enhance details, such as texture overlays in Luminar Neo.

Let’s Review 

Mastering the basics of composition is essential for enhancing your photographic narratives. By understanding and applying fundamental principles like incorporating lines, shapes, and forms, you can guide the viewer's eye, create balance, and evoke emotions. Investing time in honing your compositional skills will ultimately elevate your photography, allowing you to communicate more powerfully through your images.

About Sonja Koch

Sonja is a professional photographer focused on landscape, nature, and outdoor photography. She’s been passionate about photography since she was 8 years old.

“For me photography has always been magical like a time capsule, like something that keeps the moment alive!”

Based in Saarbruecken, Germany, Sonja has many opportunities to practice her passion photographing beautiful mountain sceneries. Her main cameras are the Sony a7R IIIa and the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, which she uses for spectacular drone shots. Also, she’s a VIP Gold Member of the Instagram photo group @raw_community.

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Composition Basics for Better Visual Storytelling | Skylum Blog(2)

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