Composition in Photography
Photography Composition Tips

The art of composition is not one that everybody can get to grips with. How you compose your picture though, can mean the difference between a pretty picture and an amazing photograph. Learning composition is fairly easy to do, and here are a few general beginner tips to help you out.

Try not to center your subject in the frame

Digital cameras tend to make this habit worse, because they show you the little center mark, and sometimes it lights up and beeps when you focus the camera. Most of us snap the picture once the camera tells us that we are pointing it in the right place, but this can make for a fairly boring end result because the subject of our picture is right in the center of the frame. A simple way to make the picture more interesting is to move your camera right, left, up or down just a little. This moves your subject off-center, and the picture ends up being more unique and interesting in the end.

Use the Rule of Thirds

This is a more advanced way of making sure that you are not centering your subject in the photo. Imagine you have a grid on your camera screen or viewfinder. This divides your viewing area into three sections - Top, center, bottom where the lines are horizontal, and right, center, left where the lines are vertical.

Now, instead of putting your subject smack dab in the center square of the board, try putting them at one of the cross junctions instead or even better, put them into one of the other zones such as Top or Bottom, Right or Left.

For instance, if you are taking a picture of the beach, you might have the sand taking up the bottom of middle of the screen, with the sky only in the top third. Alternatively, you could do the opposite if you want to show more of the sky, and put it as the top and middle while leaving the sandy beach in the bottom third of the picture.

Be Observant

When you are taking a picture, you will usually concentrate on whatever you are taking a picture of. However, when you look at it later, you might notice something very odd and unintended.

A common example is a tree behind a person. You might not notice that tree when you are taking the picture, but later you will see that it looks as though it is growing out of the person's head. Or maybe you have taken a beautiful sunset picture on the beach, but not taken any notice of the unsightly trash laying in the sand by the water.

All photographers make these mistakes, but you can train yourself to make them less often. All you need to do is try to be more observant while taking your pictures.

If you notice a tree behind your subjects head, move to the left or right so the tree is in a different spot of the picture. If you notice ugly trash laying around, again move so that it is not showing, or pick it up and throw it in the trash bin before taking your picture.