7 Basic Photography Composition Tips By: Peter Bang

The above link is to a wonderful blog entry on Bloglovin about composition – two main things that are most important when taking a photo, in no particular order:

1. Composition and 2. Lighting

1. Lighting and 2. Composition

Keep those two things in mind when forming your photograph in your mind and your photography no matter what you are shooting with will improve drastically.

1. Lighting:

Should the light be behind the subject or should the light be behind the photographer? – Where should the light be when taking photographs? Always think while visualizing you photograph, visualize where is the light, where should the light be with in this photograph, to get the effect I want to get.

2.  By definition, composition is purposeful arrangement of elements.

Learning to compose your photos can dramatically improve your photographs even when using your cell phone, point and shoot camera, DSLR, or whatever camera you have.

When you start to take a picture, everything you see in your viewfinder should serve a purpose.  Moving subject or camera to find a different angle, framing your image differently in the viewfinder, or what ever to get the right composition.

One of the most basic principles in any visual art, not just photography, is, the rule of thirds.

Imagine there are tic-tac-toe lines over your image. Two lines horizontally, and vertically so the image is divided into thirds horizontally and vertically.

The general rule is that the important objects, subjects or elements should be placed where the lines intersect or along the lines, in other words not dead center of the photo.

If it’s a portrait, the person’s head should not be in the middle of the image. The person’s eyes should be on or slightly above the top horizontal line.

The purpose of using the rule of thirds is to balance the image, and make it pleasing to the eyes.

If you’re starting out, your tendency might be to place your subject in the center because that’s where the camera’s focus point is. But since you just learned that you should off-center subjects, you should now move the focus point to any of the off-centered ones.

There’s an easy way to move your focus point around. Each camera has a different way of moving the focus point, so as I teach, always – always – always, read your manual and get to know your camera.

Also remember a very important fact, those focus points on your camera are not placed according to the rule of thirds. So, you will still have to figure this out in your mind while compromising your photograph with this technique.   One of the focus compromising techniques you can use is to focus on the part you want focused, keep the shutter button half pressed, then compose and frame how you want your image to be.

A professor in college said to me: “You need to know the rules, to be able to break them.”  So, remember this when you are  striving for technical perfection, and remember that following rules too strictly can lead to producing boring images. You need to add some of your own personality into each and ever photograph.

Until next time keep taking those photographs, get to know your camera, be welling to play, and know your camera
Trinton “TrinityHawk” Garrett

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