Photo Composition for Better Photography
Notes from the Web



Mergers occur when nearby objects or areas having nearly equal values blend together and lose their distinctiveness. The rule for mergers is "don't".

The exception is when being creative, as when you have a child pick up a horse (done by aligning the child's arms in the foreground beneath the horse in the background).


Tonal Mergers

Tonal Mergers occur because objects or areas in close proximity have similar:

  • Values - areas of near equal intensity
  • Colors - areas of near equal hue and intensity
  • Textures - areas of near equal detailed textures
  • Blurs - lack of sharpness render objects as indistinguishable


Dimensional Mergers

Dimensional Mergers occur when objects run together because we lack the depth cues that make it possible to distinguish one object from another.

One example is having a tree that appears to grow right out of a person's head. Mergers like this happen not just because we process objects in three dimensions, but because we tend focus on the subject and block out background objects.


Border Mergers

Border mergers occur when objects are cut by the edge of the photo - such as missing feet, missing hands, or missing supports. They also occur when objects are too close to other objects.



You can avoid mergers by recomposing your shot by:

  • Shifting your position (and camera) to a different spot or angle.
  • In the case of border mergers, zoom in our out
  • Using selective focus to bring the subject into focus, but blurring the background.
  • Relocating your subject (if possible)
  • Use backlighting

Make a habit of looking at your subject's immediate surroundings as you frame your photo.