Photography – Compose yourself

As soon as you go to take a photo, you’re making a decision about the composition of that picture – whether you realise it or not! The right photography composition can make even the dullest of subjects look wonderful. Just as the wrong photograph composition can make the most wonderful of subjects look dull. We’ve put together some important photography composition rules and tips that will help improve your photography.



  1. Understanding composition photography

First things first, it is important to understand what composition photography is. In simple terms, composition is how you decide to frame the photo you’re about to take. This isn’t just about the primary subject, however, as composition includes all of the elements in the frame. Our eyes tend to prefer images and photos that have an order about them and aren’t too chaotic or messy. This is why the right composition in photography can make a huge difference to how your picture turns out.


  1. Simple scenes

We’ve already touched on what the human eye prefers to see in images; something that has an order about it and isn’t too chaotic. So, the first of our photography composition rules and tips is all about the simplicity of your image. Once you have chosen your primary subject ensure that it becomes the centre of attention in the frame. If you can’t keep other elements out of the frame then try to keep them out of focus, in the background, or include them as part of the primary subject’s story. Try playing around with primary subjects that can be photographed without any background elements, before moving onto busier shots.


  1. The rule of thirds

One of the most talked about photography composition rules and tips is called the rule of thirds. It is thought that our eyes are drawn towards images that are divided into thirds. Most DSLR cameras actually have a grid you can see through the viewfinder, that will allow you to put this rule into practice. If not, then imagine a tic-tac-toe grid as you put the camera to your eye. The primary subject should be placed where the lines intersect, creating interesting and balanced composition photography. Give it a go by taking photos of a friend or family member. Place them in the centre of the frame first, before seeing the difference when using the rule of thirds.


  1. Filling the frame and leaving space

You will find a lot of conflicting opinions on whether the entire frame of your picture should be filled or whether you should leave space. The truth is, it all depends on what you want to achieve from the picture and what you’re taking a photo of. With landscapes you can fill the entire frame and create a truly awe-inspiring photo. When it comes to photographing people or animals, it is best to leave some breathing room. Try taking photos of people that fill the entire frame and then swap to photos that leave breathing space. You’ll notice a huge difference in how good the final image looks.

  1. Editing

Last up, it is important to consider whether the photo you’re taking is going to be edited. Knowing the final goal for your picture will help you find your perfect composition photography rules. Will something be edited onto the background? Will there be text overlaying the image? Will the primary subject be superimposed onto another image? Knowing the end goal for your picture will help you decide what type of photography composition works best for you.

Practice makes perfect, but we hope some of these photography composition rules and tips will help make the learning curve easier. Make a list of all the composition tricks you want to try, before heading out and seeing what works best for you.

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