Which are the basic elements for photos and videos

Basic elements to do photos and videos

You need to know about composition if you want to edit your photos and videos in Lightroom. You can always improve your media files with edition tools but paying attention to the taking will make it easier. A blurry photo or video can be fixed, but the results will always be better if you take a good shot first. Here you will find tips to make use of the basic elements for clear photos and videos.

The most important elements for composition are framing. The main idea is to share an emotion through the way we capture the image. The same basic elements of photos and videos composition may generate different answer in the public.

Basic elements for photos and videos making

The stages of a photo or video taking

A professional or amateur photo or video can be divided in different stages:

  • Preproduction: the initial stage where you plan the photoshoot. In professional fields you include material, stimated time, locations and plans.
  • Production: the main stage where you take the photos or videos and use the basic elements for your objective. You can make slight modifications depending on the environment.
  • Postproduction and mounting: the last stage where you edit the photos and videos and add filters and effects.

When you have organized your photoshoot or film session, the following step is to apply image knowledge. The basic elements of composition for good photos or videos include settings and parameters of image capture.

Basic rules of composition

The basic rules of composition will help you to accommodate the image in a frame. The use of composition rules is the key to generate emotions in the audience by capturing the image we want. Practice is essential to detect which composition settings work best with each image.

The rule of thirds

The main rule of composition consists in centering the focus of attention in one or two elements by dividing the frame with three vertical and three horizontal lines.

Basic elements for good photos and videos: balance

A balanced image is one that you look at and works. You can obtain it by putting the elements into the frame and using light and color to get your goal. Each element has a visual weight you need to measure in your composition. For a good visual balance you need to take into consideration contrast, framing, size and texture of the elements.

The negative space rule

This photography rule is a minimalistic one. It works with little elements in the frame. It can also be applied to photos or videos with only one person or object as the main focus.

The look rule

In photography and video making the look is very strong. When making portraits the look guides the audience to the most important elements of each work.  You can include free space or make a more closed frame with different emotions as a result.

The rule of horizon line as basic elements for photos and videos

This composition resource allows us to divide in three our framing. Then we highlight the sky or land occupying two thirds of the image. The remaining third is for the element we want to highlight.


The perspective can also help you to improve your photos and videos. Depending on the objective of our work we can play with different perspectives to awake emotions in the audience.

Use of lines

You can help yourself by tracing lines when composing a photo or video. The idea is to create the exact frame you want for each situation. These kind of composition helps you to awake several emotions with the same elements.

 Vanishing point

Another basic element for photos and videos composition is the vanishing point.  This resource works with an imaginary point where oblicuous lines converge. It can also be a real vanishing point in certain settings.The lines must create an inifite effect with their parallelism. The vanishing point effect gives depth to your audiovisual work.

Main settings for photos and videos composition

The correct planification for a photo or video shot is very important. In the professional field a photoshoot requires preparation. You have to organize locations, human resources, permits, costumes and make-up among other stuff. Shooting a video is also very complex. Is not only grabing a camera and filming.  Once you have prepared all the elements, you need to start working on the settings of the camera. Professional audiovisual works require knowledge about diaphragm obturation and more.

Diaphragm open

The diaphragm controls the amount of light that enters the sensor of your camera through the objective. The opening level is measured in F/X. In low f/ values more light enters. In high f/ levels less light enters. Take this into account when selecting the objective for your photos and videos as well as the environmental or natural light.

Shutter speed

This refers to the closing speed of the shutter. If you select a quick shutter speed the exposition will be short. The light will enter for a short time. If you choose a slow shutter speed speed the exposition will be longer.

In order to capture movement and freeze it, you need quick shutter speeds. In dark environments you should use longer exposition times. For long exposition captures you must use a tripod to avoid movement.

Basic elements and settings for photos and videos: ISO scale

The ISO scale measures the photographic sensibility since 1974. It indicates the amount of light a camera lets in. ISO scale is an essential element or exposition settings. It combines with shutter speed and diaphragm opening to select the light and dark of our photos and videos. The ISO scale limits the sensor in a digital way. It forces the signal to increase or decrease the amount of light.  The best way to work with ISO is in low levels and compensating with other light adjustments.

Color another of the basic elements for photos and videos

The color is another basic element of any composition. It adds strength and value to the composition results. We can work with shades, cool tones, harmonics and complementary colors to create different settings. The presence of absence of color also indicates several range of emotions according to our goal.

The objective

This item is very important for our camera. It can regulate some of the aspects we already explained such as diaphragm opening, focus distance, image stabilization and type. You can create images with blurry backgrounds and focused close elements among others.


The location we choose for videos and photos also influences the results. You need to take light into account. Outside shootings are the most difficult ones. However, in order to improve your skills you have to learn how to control illumination inside and outside.


In production and post-production you should always have background copies of your work. The idea is to save changes and be able to access the content even if the main computer or camera breaks down.

Tips to do photos and videos with great quality

Starting a professional photos or videos career is not easy. However, you can follow these tips to improve the quality of your material. At first you may detect fails and errors in your captures. But the practice will help you to detect light issues, camera settings and other elements for a better composition.

The basic elements to take good photos or videos

Learn how to detect a good photograph

  • Take your camera and look through it in different moments and places.  
  • Look other creator’s materials and learn from their techniques and works.
  • Take photos and videos of moments that make you feel something.

Never forget the light

The basic elements of photos and videos are related to light. You must always check the shutter speed, ISO setting and diaphragm opening according to the location. Good exposition makes for a better composition result. Play with light and shadows to reach your own style.

Master the basic elements

 A good photographer or videomaker is that who masters the basic elements. You will be able to get the exact frames you want when detecting how does each of the elements influences your work. Practice the opening and closing of diaphragm as well as shutter and ISO settings.

Do not fear Manual Mode

Cameras nowadays include automatic modes to set the configuration by itself. However, Manual Mode will always get the best of the taking if you know what you are doing. Practice the manual setting of your own camera for each location, photo or video in particular.

Use RAW format

The RAW format is unprocessed. Even though it`s heavier, it lets you edit the image with all the real information included. In video making there is a container format (such a MP4 or AVI) and a codec for compression. Each camera applies a codec automatically but some devices let you change the configuration.

Hold your camera steady

Professional or Smartphone cameras require a steady hold to take good pictures. If you move the camera the capture will be blurry. Tripods and other structures may help you to keep the camera still.

Try creative techniques

In order to attain your own style, you need to practice and be creative. Do not fear trying new angles or techniques. You can practice with your Smartphone camera taking photos and videos in different situations.

Ask for opinions

Show your work to other photographers and listen to their opinions. It does not mean you have to be like them, but learn to see through other’s eyes.

Basic elements for photos and videos: the focus

Unfocused material is very hard to work with. Take your time and make sure the focus is right when making a video or taking a photo. You can also play making focus on different elements before taking the shot. The idea is to learn about depth and its variants.

Natural light as an ally

If you have a reduced budget, you should use natural light for your photos and videos. It’s free and you can have the scene illuminated. Use different sources such as windows or water mirrors. You can also use clouds as filters.

Detail plan

The detail plan focuses its attention to certain elements of the composition. You can combine general plans and details plan for more narrative weight.

Avoid long shots

Try to avoid long shots of 4 o 5 minutes which you will reduce to 5 or 10 seconds. When using long shots you should include travelling or time-lapse alternatives to justify the time consuming action. In social media photos and videos you should avoid long shots and make it shorter and concise.

The sound

It’s normal to find videos where the sound does not have good quality. Amateurs tend to forget about audio capture. A good idea is to capture sound from an independent device and then mix it in post-production. You should use a signal when making the video to help with the synch process. Avoid crowded locations and use microphones for better quality sound.

Edition will always be present

Edit and mount are basic elements of photos and videos. They will help you to reach the best quality product depending on the prime material of your working day. If you follow the tips and make the best of your framing and composition, the edition process will be easier. Learn about Lightroom Mobile and other editing tools to make the best and easier edition process for your photos and videos. You can train and work with it from the Smartphone or in a computer.

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