Composition basically means the way you set things in a frame. There are a lot of ways you can set your subjects and objects in a frame to make it look aesthetically pleasing. But when it comes to cinematography your composition should also convey the story.


Daniel Day Lewis sitting with his back faced to the camera seeing his oil field on fire.

A scene from P.T Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.”


Here is a video from Videomaker that explains the best ways to compose a frame.

These are the important things to keep in mind while composing an image-

1) Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is the ratio of horizontal to vertical dimensions of the video. Composition varies depending on the aspect ratio of the video output.

2) Rule of thirds

It’s the fundamental rule of composition. Divide the screen into thirds with four lines like a tic tac toe game. The subject of interest must be at the intersection of the lines. Here is a guitar tutorial video we did for folk band Swarathma following the rule of thirds.

3) Framing

You can cut off the head but not the chin unless an equal portion of the head is cut off. But, the eyes are the most important part. If they are in focus we can get away with anything else not being in focus. This is because we universally all of us communicate with our eyes.

4) Balancing the Frame

When you balance the left and right sides of a subject with lighting and props it gives off a vibe of harmony. Similarly, an unbalanced frame gives away one of tension. There need not be symmetry.

5) Leading Lines

These are lines in the image that direct our attention to a particular subject. These can be railings, steps, etc.

6) Depth of Field

DOF is the area of a shot that is in focus. Using depth of field we can emphasize and de-emphasize on objects to direct our attention. A shallow depth of field is when a few things are in focus whereas a deep focus is when everything is in focus.

Now that you’ve mastered composition, you can check out our blog post about 5 different methods of lighting a scene.