Photography Composition Articles


>Golden Mean
>Color and
Image Balance



Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition: Avoiding Mergers

The merger of this tree with Dave's head is so obvious, you probably think no one could avoid seeing it before snapping the shutter. Remember: we see things in three dimensions, so it's easier than you might guess to focus our eyes on the principal subject only and not see that background at all. Avoiding mergers is our sixth guideline for better composition.

Background comparison

You can be sure the camera always sees mergers, so look for plain backgrounds before you pose your subject. In this case the correction was simple because the two settings were only a few feet apart.

Border merger example

This is a fun picture, but when we cut people in half or trim their heads or feet, we've committed a border merger. This is often caused by poor alignment of the photographer's eye in the camera viewfinder. To avoid border mergers, line your eye up squarely behind the viewfinder and adjust the picture format to leave a little space around everyone.

Near merger example

Near mergers may not be quite as objectionable, but they can steal attention from your center of interest. Near mergers are objects or lines that are just too close to the principal subject. In this case the ball and umbrella tip are near mergers.

Near merger example-correction

Let's correct these mergers by using a low angle, and we'll use only one prop for simplicity. Make sure the Frisbee is held far enough away from Karen's face to avoid another near merger. Well, those are the six guidelines for better photographic composition.


    © 2003-2013