Quiz about Classic Compositions You Should Know
Quiz about Classic Compositions You Should Know

Classic Compositions You Should Know Quiz


There are a number of compositional techniques that you should be aware of when taking photographs. Here are ten of them for you to 'take a shot' at identifying.

A photo quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
reedy
Time
4 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
402,229
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
566
Awards
Editor's Choice
Last 3 plays: Guest 183 (5/10), Guest 24 (7/10), Guest 73 (5/10).
photo quiz
1. A technique that is said to create more tension, energy and interest than simply centering your subject is to imagine your image divided into nine equal parts by two vertical and two horizontal lines, then try to have elements of your photo coincide with these lines. What is this technique known as? Hint

Rule of ninths
Rule of thirds
Tic-tac-toe rule
Grid rule

photo quiz
2. Taking geometry into account when choosing your subject is another compositional technique that can be approached in different ways. What is the primary geometrical aspect being utilized here? Hint

Obliques
Circles
Symmetry
Diagonals and triangles

photo quiz
3. The figurine at the center of this photograph with the unfocused objects around it provides an example of forced perspective.

True
False

photo quiz
4. Using these dynamic geometrical shapes can enhance your image by implying strength, serenity and stability. What shapes? Hint

Circles
Squares
Leading lines
Diagonals and triangles

photo quiz
5. This photographic technique involves patterns, colours and depth and typically involves detail across the whole picture. It might be strange (with this photo) to apply this composition term in relation to water, but what is it called? Hint

Texture
Finish
Appearance
Character

photo quiz
6. Another widely-accepted photography rule states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects. This is called the rule of odds.

True
False

photo quiz
7. This technique makes it very plain to the viewer what the subject of the photograph is. It can be done with close-ups or, as with this example, having your subject take up the large majority of the space available. What is this called? Hint

Fill the frame
Stick it in your face
Embiggen
One thing

photo quiz
8. An example of this technique is to put your focus on an object in the foreground and allow everything else to fuzz into the background. What is the name of this compositional technique? Hint

Zoom focus
Ignore the rest
Isolate the subject
Choose your favourite

photo quiz
9. Sometimes the size or scope of your subject can be difficult to portray without something else to compare it against, giving depth. This is an example of what? Hint

Rule of space
Golden Ratio
Leading lines
Perspective

photo quiz
10. To grasp this last compositional technique, I have added a graphic to show how it works. Here, instead of dividing your photo into a 3x3 grid (another rule we discussed), the frame is divided into a series of squares along the spiral called a phi grid. You can see how the elements of the statue and bookcase and shelves combine with unfocused foreground to approximate the flow of the spiral. This 'Fibonacci spiral' is the basis for the name of the technique, which is known as the...? Hint

Diamond ratio
Silver ratio
Golden ratio
Platinum ratio


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. A technique that is said to create more tension, energy and interest than simply centering your subject is to imagine your image divided into nine equal parts by two vertical and two horizontal lines, then try to have elements of your photo coincide with these lines. What is this technique known as?

Answer: Rule of thirds

You can see in this picture how the two waterfall streams line up to divide the total image in thirds from left to right, and other portions of the scenery (the bushes and the rock ledge) coincide with the horizontal lines.

The rule of thirds is one of the most common rules in photography, and many cameras (and smartphones) come equipped with the means to superimpose a 3x3 grid over what you are looking at. Using the lines or the junction points of the lines in this manner creates a more balanced picture.

This photo was taken in Argentina and is part of the Iguašu Falls.
2. Taking geometry into account when choosing your subject is another compositional technique that can be approached in different ways. What is the primary geometrical aspect being utilized here?

Answer: Symmetry

This photo uses a puddle on the path within the cemetery to provide a symmetrical reflection along the x-axis. The symmetry doesn't end there, as the centered path and crypts on either side and the sky are nearly mirrored left to right, as well.

Symmetry doesn't necessarily have to be centered along both axes to qualify as a symmetrical photograph, but having symmetry in both directions increases the effectiveness of the composition. And, of course, lighting and colour (or lack of it, in this case) simply accentuate the overall effect.

This scene was captured in the Buenos Aires Recoleta Cemetery.
3. The figurine at the center of this photograph with the unfocused objects around it provides an example of forced perspective.

Answer: False

This photo actually demonstrates the compositional technique of frame within the frame, wherein the subject is surrounded with something that is part of the photograph, but helps to draw the attention to the main subject - all within the larger frame of the photo, itself. Other examples might be a landscape scene shot through a frame of foliage, or the view through an open door or window.

Forced perspective is a technique where you create optical illusions by making an object appear larger, smaller, farther or closer than it really is. A ubiquitous example of this is the photo of someone holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The figurine was found at a lovely cafÚ/bookstore in Kelowna, BC (called the Pulp Fiction Coffee House).
4. Using these dynamic geometrical shapes can enhance your image by implying strength, serenity and stability. What shapes?

Answer: Diagonals and triangles

This photo uses the diagonals and triangles from the fire escape combined with the shadows cast from the bright sun to create a beautiful patterned effect that draws the eye.

Diagonals and triangles can be found throughout nature and wherever there are straight lines in the man made world. Where something square or straight (parallel, horizontal & vertical lines) can seem flat and dull, while use of diagonals and triangles lends a sense of movement and direction that can't be as easily found in the other.

The picture was taken in Winnipeg, MB in the old downtown Exchange District.
5. This photographic technique involves patterns, colours and depth and typically involves detail across the whole picture. It might be strange (with this photo) to apply this composition term in relation to water, but what is it called?

Answer: Texture

The rippling effect in this photograph wonderfully captures the texture technique, in my opinion.

Photographs that focus on texture almost have a 3-D effect to them as the patterns of the material (or in this case the light and shadow effect) encompass the whole photograph. Textures of many kinds can be found all around you, from nature (like this photo) to man-made (like a brick wall or a wood-panelled floor or carpet fibres).

This photo was taken in Nakusp, BC, capturing a patch of water on Upper Arrow Lake (Columbia River system).
6. Another widely-accepted photography rule states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects. This is called the rule of odds.

Answer: True

This photograph has more going on than just the rule of odds (use of light and contrast, diagonals/triangles), but it was a good selection to demonstrate that compositional choice. Ask yourself honestly, would you think this a better photo if there were only two people climbing the rock?

'Odd'ly enough, this has proven out in studies on photography, where more often than not, an odd number of subject wins out as being more appealing. It doesn't always work out to find odds to photograph - such as taking a picture of a loving couple - but when making your imaging choices, don't forget the rule of odds as an option.

The location of this picture is just a short drive from my home town of Vernon, BC on the Rim Rocks Trail.
7. This technique makes it very plain to the viewer what the subject of the photograph is. It can be done with close-ups or, as with this example, having your subject take up the large majority of the space available. What is this called?

Answer: Fill the frame

This photograph captures the immensity and grandeur simply by making it the total focus, taking out all other distractions (and providing a little bit of treeline to provide perspective).

One of the most common mistakes with new photographers is making your pictures too busy, including too much background, foreground, other people and objects to distract from the main subject. Filling the frame is one way to do fix that problem (but certainly not the only one).

You can find this mountain if you travel to Jasper National Park in Alberta. It is called Roche Miette.
8. An example of this technique is to put your focus on an object in the foreground and allow everything else to fuzz into the background. What is the name of this compositional technique?

Answer: Isolate the subject

It doesn't fill the frame, and the context of its surroundings is still suggested in the background, but putting the focus on this sextant to the exclusion of all else draws your eye to it, as intended.

Other ways to isolate the subject include removing the clutter from around your subject or choosing a different background, by choosing a subject that already stands out from its background (colour or lighting can help here), or by getting up close (fill the frame technique).

This is another curio within the previously-mentioned Pulp Fiction Coffee House in Kelowna, BC.
9. Sometimes the size or scope of your subject can be difficult to portray without something else to compare it against, giving depth. This is an example of what?

Answer: Perspective

While this photo is also an example of the rule of thirds and using negative space (kind of the opposite of fill the frame), it really shows how you can use perspective to grasp the true size of the subject, in this case the 24-metre-tall lighthouse (as compared to the two people on the left).

Perspective can be utilized in different ways, from comparisons (as in this example) to where your point of view is changed (other than normal eye-level), to (the previously-mentioned) forced perspective where you make things seem different than they are.

This is a photo of the Malarrif Lighthouse in SnŠfellsj÷kull National Park in Iceland.
10. To grasp this last compositional technique, I have added a graphic to show how it works. Here, instead of dividing your photo into a 3x3 grid (another rule we discussed), the frame is divided into a series of squares along the spiral called a phi grid. You can see how the elements of the statue and bookcase and shelves combine with unfocused foreground to approximate the flow of the spiral. This 'Fibonacci spiral' is the basis for the name of the technique, which is known as the...?

Answer: Golden ratio

While this technique may seem complicated, it really is quite intuitive, and definitely appeals to our senses and sensibilities.

It is believed that the golden ratio (spiral) compositional method dates back to Ancient Greece as it can be found in many types of art and architecture of the era, and even moreso during the Renaissance (which looked back to the examples of Ancient Greece).

And one final picture from the Pulp Fiction Coffee House in Kelowna, BC.
Source: Author reedy

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor WesleyCrusher before going online.
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