Best Tips for Photography Composition

by BrendaReeves

Good composition in photography is what makes a photograph interesting. It's something in the picture that grabs a person's attention and draws their eyes to the image.

Taking good photos involves more than just point and shoot. Every photographer tells a story in an image. There are three elements to achieving this: Practice, patience, and determination. Practice taking photos. This requires carrying your camera everywhere you go and taking lots of photos. Taking good pictures requires patience while learning photo techniques. Don't rush through the techniques. Determination is required while practicing different compositions and exposures. Great composition comes with a set of rules.



Composition in Photography watch the Horizon

Make sure the horizon doesn't cut through the center of the image. When it does, it causes the viewers eyes to move up and down, searching for an anchor point in the image. If the sky is important, move the horizon down from the center. If it's not, move the horizon up from the cen

Rule of Thirds Photo Techniques

The most well-known photo technique rule is the rule of thirds.There are two ways to achieve the rule of thirds: Imagine a grid like tic-tac-toe or turn on the grid lines in your digital cameras menu. Place the subject of the picture at any of the four points where the lines intersect. When your subject is too large or there are multiple subjects preventing use of the guides as intended, refrain from placing your subject in the exact center of the frame.

Watch the background Photo Techniques

Just about everyone has taken a photo, only to load it on the computer to discover a plant growing out of grandma's head. When taking photos of people or animals, watch the background. Also, make sure the background is not too busy. This will distract from the intended image

Watch the Edges of the Frame Photo Techniques

Avoid objects that draw the eyes away from the subject. The intersection of subject and frame edge draws the eyes away from the interior of the photo. If a dog drinks water from a stream, and it's tail touches the edge of the frame, that is where the viewer's eyes are going to immediately be drawn. A better approach would be to let the tail continue past the frame or make sure the subject is fully contained in the shot.

Pay Attention to Color Photo Techniques

Color acts the same way as brightness. Strong saturated colors will draw the eye away from the subject. When taking a picture of a friend, make sure a red stop sign isn't competing with the subject.

Leading Line

Lines on blue
Lines on blue

Use Shapes and lines to Direct the Eye

Leading lines" are two lines converging which force the eyes to follow the object into the distance. The composition can be arranged to use leading line to it's advantage.

Balance is an Important Photo Technique

After the viewers eyes are drawn to the primary subject, they will travel to the next object taking in the whole scene. If the primary object is on the left of the frame, place the secondary object to the left. Always have an odd number of objects to achieve proper balance. This includes the main subject. Remember the main object, or subject is what the eyes are drawn to first.

Just as a writer and painter tells a story, so does a photographer. Think about what the story is before picking up the camera. In the beginning, composition requires a lot of concentration. A student photographer will need to think in terms of practice, patience and determination. Before long this will become second nature, and the photographer will include them without even thinking, and will turn out beautiful photographs.

Updated: 03/07/2015, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 03/26/2014

You are welcome.

Sheri_Oz on 03/26/2014

Always good to have a reminder of the basics of good photography. Thanks.

BrendaReeves on 01/19/2013


Tolovaj on 01/19/2013

It is also true the editing of pictures is not anymore considered as kind of cheating. If the composition is right, we can sometimes do miracles in GIMP or similar programs:)

BrendaReeves on 01/19/2013

That is so true, Tolovaj. I have two cameras. I keep telling myself that I need to keep my point and shoot camera in the car at all times.

Tolovaj on 01/19/2013

I was never really interested in photography until I got a mobile with a built-in camera. It is only a 2 MP point and shoot camera but it is always with me and step by step I started to enjoy taking photos of simple everyday situations. Of course I wanted better and better photos and I also learned some basic rules. Very soon my mobile will not be enough anymore and I will need better camera.
But it should be light and portable. I guess the most important rule of all rules in photography is still: have your camera with you.
Thanks for the tips!

BrendaReeves on 11/20/2012

Thank you for the comment. There's a lot to remember when setting up a photo. Eventually it becomes second nature.

HollieT on 11/20/2012

This makes absolute sense. I just have a digital point and shoot, and I'd taken loads of photos that were rejected by online 3rd parties, bar one. I'd taken a picture in a public park of shaped planters in the ground,now I know it was because, inadvertently, I'd moved the horizon up. I'd always wondered what set that image apart from the others, thanks!

BrendaReeves on 11/20/2012

I have a Canon camera and I love it.

Mira on 11/20/2012

Oh, those cameras are yummy. I want one! True objects of desire, they are. :))
These are some great photo tips, Brenda!!

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