7 Easy Composition Tips for Beginners

by | Beginner, Technical, Top Tips


I believe that good composition can take a photo from looking like a snapshot to a looking professional. That’s why I’ve put together 7 easy composition tips for beginners.

Composition is just the arrangement of elements used in an image. Composition is used throughout the Art world…in paintings, television and photography. A well-composed image makes the viewer want to spend more time looking at the image. It 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 is lacking.

So let’s dive into the 7 easy composition tips for beginners and start making your photos extraordinary!

Tip #1 Learn and understand the rules of composition.

There are a lot of rules of composition, and learning and understanding those rules, why they make a photo great, and why your eye and brain prefers a perfectly composed image will help you take your photos from snapshots to more professional-looking photos. You can check out The Beginners Photography Essentials program, which has the Focus & Composition Essentials class to help you understand these rules even faster.

Tip #2 Focus on Your Subject

This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have seen many photos where you actually have no idea what the subject is. Remember, you want to avoid having so many elements or subjects in the shot that your viewer doesn’t know where they are supposed to look. Clean up things around your subject simplify your shot so that the viewer has no doubt what they are supposed to focus on.

Tip #3 Use the Rule of Thirds

I am sure you’ve heard of the rule of thirds, and I couldn’t write about 7 easy composition tips for beginners without including this. To clarify, the rule of thirds says that you need to divide your image area into thirds, vertically and horizontally, 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.

7 Easy Composition Tips for Beginners

Tip #4 Change Your Perspective

Sometimes I go back through my old photos, 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 exact position…standing straight in front of my subject! Mix it up shoot from another angle. Try shooting from above or below. If photographing kids or animals, get down on their level. Changing your perspective will make your photos look more professional.

Statue of Liberty

Tip #5 Balance

Like in any art form, creating balance in your photos helps create interest. If you have something large in the front, and something in the background, balance the images by having the item in the background be small and vice versa.

Tip #6 Create Depth of Field

I dive deeper into the depth of field and using aperture to create it in The Beginners Photography Essentials Course, but using depth of field is a great way to create interest in your photos. Use a shallow depth of field when photographing people or when you don’t want the background to be the focus. Use a deeper depth of field for landscapes or when you want the whole image crisp and clear.

Girl & Boy with Blurry Background

Tip #7 Pay Attention to In-Camera Cropping

Nothing says beginner quite like having your subjects limbs cropped in the wrong places. Paying attention to where you are cropping your subject is key. 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 have just touched on the rules of composition for photography with these 7 Easy Composition Tips for Beginners. Learning, understanding and mastering these rules is key to getting amazing pictures…because once you understand them, then you can learn to “break” them!

Lifestyle Photographer & Mentor

Hi, I’m Dena, a natural light lifestyle photographer with 20+ years of experience capturing other people’s memories and teaching photographers how to understand and easily use their cameras.

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