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Why Photo Composition is a Key Skill to Learn

 30th Jun 2020

Composition is critical to us photographers. 

Take a look at this photo for example - I mean really look at it for a few moments:



Look at this beautiful composition set up and think about the following:

  • What did your eye first notice?
  • When you looked again, what did you take in?
  • Why do you think you were drawn to that point?
  • What contributed to this image being so powerful?

Come back to this once you’ve read the blog and apply what you’ve learnt, already you will have differing opinions.

In this blog we are going to look at what composition is, how to learn composition and some top tips.

What is photography composition?

The definition of composition is that it is the arrangement of elements within an image. But what does this mean for us as photographers?

Composition is one of the most important aspects of photography. Mastering it will change your photographs and enhance your skills to the next level. 

There are several rules to composition that help us know how to start practicing it such as;

  • Don’t cut off limbs
  • Rule of thirds
  • Diagonals composition
  • Foreground
  • Leading lines

There are loads more out there to guide you through your composition journey but keep in mind that rules are there to be broken!

How do I learn composition?

I am a big advocate of practice as most of you know by now.

Watch the videos, read the blogs and then go out there and try it out, get it wrong and try it again. 

So many people believe that a photo that is beautifully composed is because of a function on a fancy camera, lens or menu setting but that couldn’t be further from the truth! 

Outstanding compositions live in your imagination. The trick is knowing how to channel what you would like your image to look like and planning to shoot a photo you’re really proud of. 

Composition is a very personal thing. What interests one photographer might not set another on fire and that’s OK. The trick is to find a composition that interests you in the first place and that can be tricky when you’re beginning.

Creativity doesn’t just happen however, and you need to learn how to use your camera so that you have the confidence to manipulate composition to work for you. Bridging the gap between creative and technical is crucial for your success.

Here are some resources to help get you started;

Watch the videos and then pick up your camera. 

If you need guidance and support in understanding how your camera works so you can be more creative then consider the Masterclass in Photography. This will equip you with the tools you need to get out there and compose brilliance! 

poppy and blue sky

Don’t be afraid to try new angles...

Top tips for great photo composition

We now know what composition is plus we know what we need to do to learn it.

Here are my top tips to invigorate you to get out there and master it!

  1. Focus attention: think about what you want the viewer to see first and how to accentuate that in the image.
  2. Think about foreground and background: blurring the background can really bring the foreground to life, think about depth of field and how it creatively adds to your photo.
  3. Use different angles: don’t be afraid to lie down and shoot up or stand on a chair for some elevation!
  4. Lines, patterns or shapes: look for natural patterns in your shot and enhance them, this can add to really interesting composition.

The most important part of composition is getting out there, trying new things and having fun! Don’t be afraid to try something new or push yourself to change your perspective. 

Practice is the most enjoyable part of your photography journey because you will learn so much. 

If you need guidance and support in understanding how your camera works so you can be more creative then consider the Masterclass in Photography Course. This will equip you with the tools you need to get out there and compose brilliance!

If you really want to nail composition among other skills such as focal length, using and predicting light, getting into the finer details of camera settings and how to really think like a photographer, then consider my 7 Building Blocks of Photography course.

It’s a great intermediate level course that provides the "missing link" between the technical and creative aspects of photography. 

Remember, if you want people to love your images, knowing about the camera isn't enough. To be a photographer you have to think like one!