Focus On Composition: The S Curve


Ideas and guides in pictures are constructing blocks to creating and capturing fantastic photographs. Whereas the rule of thirds is among the many commonest constructing blocks in composition, the S-curve can also be one to look out for. It attracts the attention in the direction of the primary topic immediately!

Together with main traces, such a curve is particularly vital if you wish to enhance your panorama pictures.

The so-called greatest {photograph} ever taken is a panorama {photograph} with a pronounced s curve! Be taught extra about this legendary picture right here. And, after all, learn on to study extra about s curve composition.

s curve in nature
Photograph by Rick Rogers

What Is The S Curve?

The S curve is a sort of main line that, when used appropriately, can enhance the composition of the picture, serving to to create sturdy photographs that may preserve viewers engaged for an extended interval. Because the form of the main line seems to be just like the letter “S” or a part of the letter “S,” it’s known as the “S Curve.” S formed curve seems to be quite elegant when you’ve got by no means used it, it’s best to positively begin experimenting with it in your pictures.

You possibly can see it typically in cityscapes and landscapes, and it helps strengthen in any other case boring and unmemorable scenes. Many exterior components can have an effect on the look of the s curve, similar to your vantage level – such a curve seems to be nice when shot from above.

In case you are into drone pictures, you’ll be able to simply play with capturing s curves!

Why Are Curves Extra Highly effective In Photographic Composition?

The human eye tends to observe traces; therefore, incorporating traces or curves in photographic compositions will be a good way to maintain the viewers engaged by creating highly effective photographs. S curve will be utilized as a compositional software to any style of pictures however is mostly used when composing panorama and cityscape pictures. 

To sum up, s curves can simply turn out to be the point of interest of the {photograph} due to their visible magnetism.

s curve used when composing landscape and cityscape shots
Photograph by Lachlan Gowen

Inventive A Visible Journey With S Curves

The S curve takes the viewer by a visible journey into the scene in the direction of the topic and helps the viewer to discover the scene whereas passing by different vital parts alongside the best way. It additionally provides a layer of visible curiosity to the pictures and might lead the viewer into or out of a scene, beginning on the backside, prime, or aspect, however essentially it can roughly form the letter S and both outline the {photograph} or break up the composition into two sections. S curves can add a way of motion to a boring and static picture or add visible depth and add an fascinating perspective to the scene.

Therefore panorama photographers use it as a compositional software to create fascinating images which are extra dynamic and have depth. Use the S curve identical to how you’d use the main traces to create highly effective images.

s curve on a landscape
Photograph by Blair Fraser

What To Look Out For When Composing Utilizing The S Curve?

When utilizing an S curve to compose photographs, it’s higher to be careful for some vital issues and exterior components, so your picture seems to be pleasing. Search for parts or components of the scene which are formed just like the letter “S.”

Suggestions For Higher S Curves

  1. Make sure the S curve will not be distracted by traces or different parts that have a tendency to interrupt the curve on its path. For instance, different traces lower in between fallen branches, bushes, and different parts, as a result of these can break the circulation or motion of the viewer and lead the viewer away from the primary scene.
  2. Break-in S curves can get in the best way of a neat and pleasing composition.
  3. Relying on the character of the scene, you need to use sturdy or delicate S curves. The place you want the S curve to face out within the scene, use a stronger one, but when the curve is a part of a delicate/minimal scene, it’s okay to have a mild curve.
  4. Search for views that may carry extra emphasis to the curve. Strive capturing from varied views and select what works greatest for the scene. Sticking to this technique in the long run will enhance your pictures dramatically!
Look for perspectives that will bring more emphasis to the s curve
Photograph by Jeremy Bishop

The place Can You Look For The S Curve?

Effectively, the excellent news is that s curves aren’t something unique! You’ll find them in pure and man-made buildings and {photograph} them in many various methods. Typically, the s curve itself will be your topic (point of interest) or result in the primary topic, which is a good technique for those who’re photographing portraits.

Pure Components And Man-Made Buildings

Some parts that can be utilized as an S curve for composition in a scene are:

  1. A river
  2. A stream
  3. A highway
  4. A path by a area
  5. A railway observe
  6. Fences
  7. Waterfalls
  8. Gentle trails on a highway
  9. A shoreline
  10. Plant or bushes planted alongside a curve
  11. Man-made buildings like a bridge or different buildings

Professional tip: To make your compositions much more highly effective, strive combining the s curve with one other compositional rule, similar to the golden part! Additionally, strive implementing some cool enhancing methods to make your landscapes with s curves much more dramatic.

man made structures as s curve
Photograph by Silas Baisch

Within the picture beneath, you may discover that it does not observe the rule of thirds for the horizon placement, however that is OK.  The S-curve is positioned into the proper third of the body, so vertically talking, it does pleasingly separate the composition. Using an S-curve is all about stability.


S-curves additionally do not must be used as separators or dividers, they can be utilized as the point of interest of the picture, as seen beneath on this winter picture on the mountain. Panorama photographers use them very often, however they don’t seem to be restricted to this style of pictures!

Whereas these examples present largely landscapes, S-curves are seen in virtually all varieties of pictures, together with capturing individuals and teams. The secret’s to search for and exploit the alternatives it’s a must to make the most of these delicate, flowing traces to both assist create compositional separation within the body or make the most of the curve as the point of interest and featured portion of the picture.

Additional Studying:

  1. Utilizing Main Traces For Charming Composition
  2. 25 Nice Pictures That Use Roads And Paths To Improve The Composition
  3. Use These 5 Components To Compose Nice Images
  4. How To Use The Components Of Composition
  5. Panorama Images Composition Methods | The S Curve
  6. Skilled Composition Methods: “Sample & Rhythm” & “S-Curve”



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