Composing photos is somewhat different for square format. Let me share some of the things I have observed thus far.
Rules of composition are very important is taking photos, even for lomographs. Even though we always profess the rule, “Don’t think, just shoot,” it can be argued that a substantial number of unforgettable lomographs are the ones that are composed well, intentionally or unintentionally. As most of us want our lomographs to resonate more, I do believe the one should learn and practice composition whenever possible. For as long as the exercise does not get in the way of the primal purpose of taking photographs, which is to capture a moment in time; and as long as it does not become ritualistic in nature, we should learn to compose our photos well.
However, some of the things that you may encounter with regard to composition, such as the Rule of Thirds, are with reference to the 135 format. But what if you are dealing with square format? I attempted to compile a collection of some of my favorite square photos and looked for recurrent tendencies, with the hope of determining what aspects of composition complement well with the square format. Here is what I found:
Put your subject in the center. Contemporary rules in composition would always suggest placing the subject on the third portion of the frame. However, such may not work in square format. I find that placing the subject at the center gives more focus and creates more interest for me.
Put your subject in the corner. I really could not explain it well; but when the subjects are at the corner, especially if they are cropped, as though exiting the frame, there is some kind of a funny impact.
Fill the frame. Square is such an imposing shape; and our brain is known to respond better to shapes rather than lines and details. When you fill up the frame, the photo become so much imposing and the our brain becomes so much attracted to it.
Incorporate lines and curves. Square format may not be that suitable for landscape photography compared to 135 format, but when there are pathways, winding roads, or streams of water, they simply look good in a square frame. Again, the reason for such eludes me as of the moment. If you know the answer, please do share.