Shot Composition and Framing Techniques

(Image by igormattio from Pixabay)

Turning your drone footage into a cinematic expreience will set you apart from the rest.

It will turn a simple idea into a stunning masterstoke.

Think about it: you have in forn of you a simple flying machine, that can go places you can only dream off.

Wouldn't it make sense for you to learn the art of the camera on board, and to make that footage worthy of a million likes…


Here, in the enchanting realm of aerial photography, shot composition and framing techniques are akin to the brushstrokes of a master painter, shaping the visual narrative and transforming ordinary scenes into extraordinary works of art.

No joke.

This chapter will immerse you in this, as we explore the principles of composition in aerial photography.

We'll unravel the secrets of framing and balancing elements within the aerial frame, and delve into the rule of thirds and other composition guidelines.

Furthermore, we'll unlock the creative potential of incorporating leading lines, symmetry, and patterns to elevate the visual impact of your aerial shots.

1. Principles of Composition in Aerial Photography

Composition is the language through which you tell stories with your aerial photographs.

It is like a choreographed dance, where elements gracefully move across the frame, guiding the viewer's eye and evoking emotions.

Let's explore the principles that will bring your aerial compositions to life:

a. Balance:

Imagine your aerial frame as a delicate scale, where the placement and visual weight of each element determine its equilibrium.

Just like a symphony conductor skillfully orchestrates the interplay of instruments, you must balance the subjects within your frame, be it the majestic landscape or architectural marvels, to create a harmonious visual composition.

Which leads to…

b. Scale and Proportion:

Aerial photography allows you to play with scale and proportion, revealing the grandeur of landscapes or the intricate details of human-made structures.

It's like stepping into a world of giants or discovering hidden microcosms.

Through your lens, capture the poetry of vastness or the intimate intricacies, conveying a sense of wonder and storytelling through size relationships.

c. Depth and Layers:

Picture your aerial photograph as a multidimensional stage, where different elements occupy distinct layers.

Like a painter with a big palette, you can paint with depth and layers, guiding the viewer's eye and creating a sense of spatial storytelling.

Bring the foreground, middle ground, and background into play, arranging them like actors on a stage to captivate your audience.

Hopefully they will gasp in awe.

2. Framing and Balancing Elements in the Aerial Frame

Framing and balancing elements within the aerial frame are essential skills for crafting visually captivating compositions.

Here, we will explore the techniques that will allow you to create mesmerizing aerial shots:

a. Foreground Elements:

Imagine your aerial frame as a theater stage, and the foreground elements as captivating actors who draw the viewer into the scene.

By carefully selecting and positioning natural or human-made elements in the foreground, such as trees, rivers, or architectural structures, you add depth, context, and visual interest to your composition.

b. Negative Space:

Negative space is the quiet pause between the notes of your aerial composition.

Put simply, it is the canvas that allows the main subject to breathe and speak with clarity.

Like a minimalist artist, embrace the power of empty spaces, allowing them to evoke emotions and highlight the significance of the focal point.

And yes, you would be surprised by the result.

c. Symmetry and Asymmetry:

Symmetry is like a perfectly choreographed ballet, where elements are mirrored and balanced.

It creates a sense of order, tranquility, and beauty.

On the other hand, asymmetry introduces an element of surprise, capturing the viewer's attention and injecting the composition with dynamic energy.

Balancing symmetrical and asymmetrical elements is like conducting a symphony, where moments of harmony and contrast coexist to create visual poetry.

3. Rule of Thirds and Other Composition Guidelines

The rule of thirds and other composition guidelines are the guiding principles that add structure and visual impact to your aerial photographs.

a. Rule of Thirds:

Visualize your aerial frame as a grid of nine sections, formed by two horizontal and two vertical lines.

The rule of thirds suggests placing key elements along these lines or at their intersections, just like actors positioned on the stage of destiny.

By following this rule, you create a dynamic balance and guide the viewer's eye through the composition, adding intrigue and storytelling depth.

b. Diagonal Lines and Golden Ratio:

Diagonal lines are the captivating pathways that lead the viewer's gaze through your aerial frame, much like a scenic road winding through a picturesque landscape.

Imagine the golden ratio as the hidden mathematical secret that guides the placement of elements within your frame, just as nature effortlessly follows patterns of perfect proportion.

By incorporating these elements, you inject your compositions with a sense of flow, harmony, and aesthetic appeal.

4. Incorporating Leading Lines, Symmetry, and Patterns in Aerial Shots

Leading lines, symmetry, and patterns are powerful visual elements that can enhance the impact and storytelling of your aerial shots.

a. Leading Lines:

Leading lines are like captivating storytellers, guiding the viewer's eye through your aerial composition.

They can be rivers meandering through a landscape, roads stretching into the horizon, or the edges of architectural structures gracefully leading the gaze.

By skillfully incorporating leading lines, you create a visual journey, inviting the viewer to explore the narrative you have crafted.

b. Symmetry:

Symmetry is like a mirror reflecting the beauty and harmony of the world.

Seek out symmetrical elements in nature or man-made structures, such as bridges, buildings, or even the reflection of clouds on still waters.

When positioned strategically, they create a sense of balance and visual impact, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the elegance and order of the scene.

c. Patterns:

Patterns are the mesmerizing rhythms and repetitions found in nature, architecture, or human design.

They can be geometric shapes, textures, or even the arrangement of agricultural fields seen from above.

Incorporating patterns into your aerial shots is like capturing the poetry of visual harmony.

These patterns can add visual interest, abstraction, and a sense of rhythm to your compositions.


So as you can tell, shot composition and framing techniques are the brushes with which you paint your aerial masterpieces.

Remember the principles of composition as the language that speaks to your viewers, guiding their gaze, evoking emotions, and telling captivating stories from the skies.

As you incorporate leading lines, symmetry, and patterns, imagine yourself as a visual poet, creating a symphony of elements that harmonize and captivate.

With each click of the shutter, let your aerial compositions inspire, awe, and transport viewers to new dimensions of visual delight.

Julian Sirian is a personal development blogger. His blog, is dedicated in helping people lead a happier, healthier lifestyle by using natural methods as well as psychological, spiritual and weight loss/fitness techniques.

Julian – who has written posts on Healing By Mind.