Rhythm In Visual Composition

In this episode, we’ll continue on with our compositional series and talk about the concept of rhythm.

Rhythm is a very important part of visual composition. Unlike the “rule” series of thinking, rhythm simply exists. Its in every composition to some degree. What’s important is learning to control the rhythm elements of visual composition.

Its best explained to make a musical comparison. Rhythm in music is the pulse at which the notes move over time. Music always has rhythm because it is a time based medium. Notes or sounds move along with a pulse. These sounds can be of equal distance in time from one another for simple rhythms or they can play against the symmetry of being equal to create interest. Syncopation occurs when the rhythm is set up to work against itself – you hear this in jazz, rock, or African music.

These pulses in a visual composition are illustrated visually. Most obvious visual rhythms occur through repetition. Sometimes there is symmetry to this repetition and sometimes objects can be syncopated against other like symmetrical objects. Chaos ads complexity and simplicity ads tranquility.

In visual composition, the photographer can create interest by playing with and arranging these visual elements.


Photographers in this video:

Karl Blossfelt
Bryan David Griffith
Hannah Starkey
Ernest Withers
Richard Avedon

See Also:

Learning From Past Masters
Rule of Odds
Rule of Thirds


  1. Ryno Brits says

    Hi Ted this was an awesome episode thank you I’m by no means of any measure a, even good photographer but I do love it thank you for sharing your knowledge and I can see my photos are improving on many levels, Thank you.