Good composition can take a photo from looking like a snapshot to a professional-looking photo, that’s why I am sharing 5 tips for composing your photographs. Understanding aperture, shutter speed and ISO is an important part of your photogrpahy journey, but so is composing your photographs. Photos that use composition rules are more engaging. They draw the viewer in and make an image more interesting. The picture doesn’t have too many elements to avoid confusing the eye, and it follows one or more rules of composition.
You can have a perfectly exposed photo, but your image will always be average, never extraordinary if the composition lacks.
Composition is simply the arrangement of elements used in an image. Composition is used throughout the Art world…in paintings, television and photography. And it gives your viewer’s eye a place to rest and relax.
Tips For Composing Your Photographs
Rule of Thirds
The first of the 5 tips for composing your photographs that I will cover is one that most of you have heard of—the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds helps you avoid having your subject in the center of the frame. It says that you need to divide your image area vertically and horizontally into thirds, and the most important parts of your photo (the subject) should fall where the lines cross. When photographing people, the eyes should fall on the intersecting lines. For landscapes, you want the horizon to fall into one of the thirds
Nothing says beginner quiet like having your subject’s limbs cropped in the wrong places. Paying attention to where you are cropping your subject is critical and should be a focus you implement immediately. Slow down, take a minute to look through the viewfinder and make sure that all feet, toes and fingers are in the frame. Cutting your subject off in an odd place stops the flow of movement in your photo.
I mentioned before that you want your subject to stand out. You want the viewer to have no question about what they should look at. Avoiding too much going on in your photos is so important, but this doesn’t mean you need to have only one thing in your picture. You just want to make it clear that the subject is the star.
Like any art form, creating balance in your photos helps create interest. This composition technique involves giving every object in your picture the same visual weight. Balance is a bit of a more complicated composition rule to use as many things must be considered to achieve balance…textures, colors and placement of your subjects.
Sometimes I go back through my old photos when I was just starting, and I want to go back in time and do them all over! I swear that 98% of my shots were from the same position…standing straight in front of my subject! Mix it up and shoot from another angle. Try shooting from above or below. If photographing kids or animals, peek in on them while they play or get down on their level. Or, shoot from the hip. Changing your perspective will make your photos look more professional.
Can I Break the Rules?
The short answer is yes; you can break the rules of composition but only do so if you know what your goal for your photo is. Once you learn and practice the rules of composition, your eye will begin to see them everywhere and using them will become second nature. You can take photos that don’t follow any rule of composition, but you want most of your images to use one, if not more of the rules.
I have covered just 5 tips for composing your photographs. Learning, understanding and mastering these rules is key to getting amazing pictures…because once you understand them, you can learn to “break” them! If you want to learn more about the rules of composition and reach your photography goals even faster, check out The Beginners Photography Essentials class today!