Rhythm in Photography

  • Blog
  • 6 min read
Rhythm in Photography

Rhythm in photography is a certain way of organization, which means alternating objects at a certain interval. If we consider the concept in more detail, then we can see that the alternation of objects and events is found everywhere.

All life is subject to rhythms. The earth revolves around the sun, and day gives way to night. Autumn – in winter, spring – in summer. Time itself, in our understanding, consists of repeating seconds, minutes, hours, days. The beating of our heart, breathing is also a rhythm.

Therefore, it is not surprising that our perception also obeys these laws. People more easily assimilate information that is organized rhythmically than information that does not. Certain arts, such as music and poetry, are subject to this law.

In the visual arts, rhythm is not required, but misusing this principle can ruin the perception of photography. It is a very powerful visual medium, and it must be applied wisely. Rhythm is one of the photographer’s tools for organizing the content of a photograph, and is one of the techniques of composition.

Compositional Techniques in Photography

Compositional Techniques
Compositional Techniques

Composition in photography is the construction and sequence of pictorial techniques that realize an artistic idea. This is the ratio and interposition of parts of the frame. There are the following compositional techniques:

• rule of thirds;
• symmetry;
• depth of field, defocus;
• Vignette, natural frame;
• diagonals and triangles;
• odd objects;
• space in the frame;
• shooting point;
• direction and space;
• Colour;
• balance;
• rhythm.

Rhythm in A Food Photo Composition

In a work of art, rhythm is understood as a regular alternation of any compositional elements. Several sequentially repeated compositional elements in a certain order. One example of this is a row of cupcakes on the table extending into the distance.

The rhythm in photography is multifaceted, it can even be expressed in the alternation of shadows, shades or colors in the photo in a certain sequence. Everything that repeats is called rhythm.

Rhythm in Photography
Rhythm in Photography

A well-defined rhythm in a photograph becomes an excellent basis for a shot, i.e. makes the picture attractive and at the same time harmonious from the viewer’s point of view. Although we never think about it when looking at photos.

On a subconscious level, this way of organizing space is read very clearly. But not successful use of this technique can completely destroy the frame. Usually, the rhythm in the photo begins to be felt by the viewer when three or four elements are repeated, although the best effect occurs when the number of these elements is much greater.

Rhythm as Part of The Composition

It is very important to understand that the rhythm as part of the composition should be logical in your photo. In nature, you can find various turns: a flower pattern, linear repetitions of waves, folds of sand or pillars, trees, a fence, stripes on clothes. Inappropriate use of rhythm in the frame can lead to the loss of the original meaning, for which the photo frame was created.

The human brain loves to cling to the lines in the frame and follow them, and if these lines go off the frame, then the person automatically runs away from your photo. Pay attention to the texture in the frame. The texture itself does not matter. Light plays a role, which falls on the texture and creates volume due to shadows. If you are working with natural light, try changing the position of the camera – look for interesting angles and then the texture in the frame can make your photo original and memorable.

Rhythm in Photography
Rhythm in Photography

Rhythm is often a harsh contrast that attracts the eye and, again, takes the person away from the main subject. Therefore, if your main subject in the frame is not part of the rhythm structure, then it is better not to use this principle in commercial selling photos.

The main mistake of using this technique in the photo of food is the rigid rhythm in the background. The stripes on the photo backgrounds, very much distract the beholder and often take the person’s gaze from the frame, there is a disharmony between the active background and delicate confectionery products.

Look yourself at any photo where there are white boards and black spaces – like it? or do you feel annoyed? And if the strip is on the table, then you immediately want to follow the line, that is, leave the frame. And commercial photography has a different task – to keep the client’s gaze as long as possible in the photo.

You may also like to read: Rules of Composition: 11 Best Compositional Rules in Photography

Examples of Rhythm in Food Photography

Consider the following examples of photos that use the principle of rhythm to grab the viewer’s attention. A very good technique when shooting cakes, to show the cut of the product. Pastry chefs often find that cut photos have the greatest response. Especially where the layers of the product are clearly visible. This is understandable, since such a combination in the frame is the very repetition of lines. To which the brain clings and examines the photograph in detail.

Rhythm in Photography
Rhythm in Photography

Another good example is the chocolate drip cake decor. It fascinates and makes you consider the product in more detail.

Rhythm in Photography
Rhythm in Photography

You can lay out the products in the frame to create a rhythm. For example, sweets, cupcakes, marshmallows. We see that corn cobs create a certain rhythm, just like bread sticks. Remember that everything in the frame must be logical. This photo shows the process of decorating products and it is clear why the cakes are arranged this way.

One of the misused uses of rhythm in food photography is the overuse of rhythm at the expense of the photophone. Because contrasting lines take a person’s gaze away from the main subject in the frame. Do not produce the desired result. And the purpose of food photography is to sell products in the photo.