7 Composition Tips to Improve Your Photography

7 Composition Tips to Improve Your Photography

Photography is all about expressing something. A photo is not a photo if there is no feeling. This is the reason why you should pay more attention while shooting photos. There are several elements of a great photo and composition is one of those elements.

The simple meaning of composition is how to arrange different elements inside the frame. No matter how good your subject and background are, if you fail to compose the photo in a better way, you are not going to get a nice photo. Here are a few composition tips to help you improve your photography skills. 

Understanding the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is often referred to as the most basic rule involved in photography. All you have to do here is divide the photo into 9 equal parts using three horizontal, as well as 3 vertical lines. The frame containing nine sections is visible only through the process and will not cause any changes to the photo. 

What you have to do here is try to keep the most important things right along a line or near the intersection points. It has been scientifically proven that people see the things near these lines first in a photo.

This is a very convenient trick to use in landscape photography. It lets the photographers keep the horizon right along with one of the horizontal lines and then you can keep the subject in alignment with the vertical line(s). 

The rule of thirds

Make frames out of edges of the subject or architecture

When it comes to composition tips, frames are very important. You can make frames either out of your subject or the architecture present in the photo. When you are outside, you can use bridges, you can use bridges, fences, and other curves to male frames of the photo. It helps the viewers to get their focus on the subject very quickly. 

Landscape photography can be framed better using the edge lines of branches or trunks of the trees, and other things like that. In case you are photographing something that is indoors, better use human arms or indoor architectures as framing elements of the photo. 

Use lines and edges to guide your viewers

The human mind is automatically drawn to lines and other edges having some direction. When you use lines and other architectures in the frame, you are providing a perspective to the viewers.

Those lines act as a guide letting the viewers think where the lines are headed and why? Most of the functions in this process are performed unconsciously by the human brain. 

The most common example we can give is of the road. If you shoot the photo of a road that is wide on one end and then becoming narrow at the other, it gives a certain depth to the image.

If there are several lines, you can make use of them in a way to lead the viewer precisely to the subject. You are free to imagine any shape whether it be a triangle or rectangle and then incorporate the subject in it. 

Composition tips: using lines to draw the eye

Composition tips: using lines to draw the eye

Pay close attention to the background

If there is something irregular, intensely bright, or even dark, it may drive the attention of viewers from the subject. While focusing on the subject, several people don't pay much attention to the background. Even a slight irregularity in the background can make the subject less noticeable. 

Study the background properly before you make the final shot. Your focus should always be on getting a less obtrusive background that lets the viewer focus more on the subject. Just keep in mind that a perfect background is always out of focus. 

There are a few things that you can do with your DSLR settings as a prep. First, put the camera in portrait mode to check the background. This mode can also tell you whether you whether to re-adjust the aperture or not. 

If you intend to take photos of flowers or other tiny objects, you can very easily create your own background. You can use a card or any other small thing which is easy to carry in your gear bag. 

Keep it simple- focus appropriately

When there are way too many items in the photo, viewers will find the point to settle on for some time. If they are unable to get it for a little while, they will very easily get bored and stop looking at the photo. We are not telling you to avoid including secondary objects in the frame.

You can very easily incorporate multiple subjects in the frame but be conscious about their use. The inclusion of the subject in a frame is intended to bring the focus of viewers to it rather than drawing the viewers away. 

Try cropping the subject out of the frame

This is one of the best composition tips to use. While you are shooting, pay close attention to the edges of the frame as well as the subject. You usually work hard to make sure that the subject is fully contained in the frame before you press the shutter button, however maybe go creative and try to have some part of the subject out of the frame. 

The human mind is very fast in finding imperfections. When you shoot a photo and a part of the subject is chopped off, it changes the photo dramatically and makes the viewer really think.

Rather than looking at the subject in place, people start looking at the framing as either enhancement or imperfection.

Composition tips using cropping

Composition tips using creative cropping.

Don't underestimate symmetry/patterns

Filling up the frame with patterns that repeats themselves makes the photo more impactful. This is the most pleasant way of guiding the eyes of the viewers. Lines also guide viewers but that journey seems more of a logical one.

When you include symmetric objects like lamp posts on the street or trees planted in a sequence, the viewer will enjoy while following the specified direction. 

Photographers! Earn a $200 Sign up Bonus...

Ever thought of licensing your photos? Upload your portfolio we'll give you a $200 head start in your account. Earn 30c per download and get paid when balance reaches $300.

Interested? Sign-up here

(more details)

Final thoughts

Some simple composition tips can make your photos way better. All you have to do is keep the focus on symmetry, and provide depth to the photo. Try to contain the photo properly and incorporate the rule of thirds in most photos.

Apart from that, photography is also about breaking the rules. If following the rules can ruin your photos, better break them to shoot something stunning.

About the Author

Andrew Conway is an amateur photographer and keen writer. Andrew is in his last year of his Journalism degree in University.