15 Principles of ‘Mise en Scène’ That’ll Help Photographers Tell Better Stories


The filmmakers behind ShoHawk have put together a simple infographic for filmmakers that, with all due respect of course, we think applies even better to photographers. The graphic describes 15 principles of Mise en Scéne, and it helps explain how different visual elements and styles in an scene (or photo) help tell different kinds of stories.

Mise en Scène, literally translated “placing on stage” in English, refers to everything in front of the camera and how it is arranged—for a filmmaker, this can include composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting.

In the infographic below, Michael and Christopher of ShoHawk break down 15 principles of Mise en Scène for filmmakers, offering a basic understanding of concepts that apply just as well to photography, but that many photographers overlook or lump entirely under the banner of “composition.”

Subject placement, gaze, density of the frame, how you differentiate multiple subjects of varied importance, all of these principles are as critical for photographers as they are for filmmakers.

Scroll down to see the full infographic for yourself:


For more Mise en Scène goodness, check out this blog post over on the ShoHawk website. And if you have your own compositional advice to offer, don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments.

Image credits: Infographic by ShoHawk and used with permission.