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Compose Better Photos with Gestalt Theory

One of the better-known theories of perception is Gestalt Psychology. It deals with the way we organize information (usually visuals, but not always) into wholes. While Gestalt Theory isn’t mentioned very often in discussions about composing good photos, I think that’s a mistake; these principles can clearly improve your compositions.

In this video, I dive into four of the most relevant components of Gestalt Theory for photographers: the Law of Closure, the Law of Similarity, the Law of Common Fate, and Figure-Ground Organization. Knowing how each one works can help you organize and structure your compositions to be as strong and effective as possible.

Here’s the video:

I do want to emphasize that Gestalt Theory is much broader than what I’ve covered here. I didn’t want to stretch any of the theory’s claims beyond recognition, so I only covered the topics that I think relate the most to photography. If you want to read more about Gestalt Theory, the Wikipedia page here has a very good overview.

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