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Best Ways to Compose A Photo

 10th Dec 2020

We define  composition as the arrangement of elements within an image. Composition is a deeply personal and creative aspect of photography. 

When done well it will take your image from good to incredible but it’s important to always keep it exciting and not just follow the standard rules.

If you want to learn the baseline rules of composition, please take some time to watch these videos:

If you’re ready to dive into trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone then stay right here.

We’re going to look at the best ways to compose a photo through tips and tools to push you further and make you an even better photographer.

 

Best ways to compose a photo

1. Patterns

Look for patterns in your composition. Shapes or repetition can really add to the feel of a photograph and add some creative sparkle to it.

2. Change the viewpoint

Don’t just shoot horizons horizontally and people vertically! Switch it up. Lie on the ground and shoot up, shoot down, try from above - be as adventurous as possible with your viewpoint. You will bring home some really great shots!

legs in stripy socks

3. Fill the frame when you compose a photo

Don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your subject, it adds intimacy and can completely change the feel of an image.

4. Use leading lines

Whether a natural line created by a river or row of trees or a man-made line of road or railway. Leading lines help add depth to your image and are instrumental in leading the eye into the further reaches of the photo.

lake district

5. Framing for composition

Frame your photo with natural frames such as caves or trees or built ones such as windows or doors. This changes the focus of the image and gives it more of an artistic feel. A great way to change the scene.

20-Kvernufoss

6. Keep it simple

When you compose your photo, don’t overcrowd it. It doesn’t need to be busy or bursting at every level. It can be a subject against a plain background and still be a phenomenal image!

7. Don’t ignore the background when you compose a photo

If you’re hoping to compose a photo where a little girl is the main focus, you don’t want a busy market place in focus behind her because it will take away from your subject. Think about how you can make your background work in your subject’s favour.

8. Break the rules

There ARE rules of composition that offer a fabulous foundation when you’re figuring out how to compose photos. But rules are there to be broken. The rule of thirds works in so many scenarios but if you want to completely disregard that and centre your subject - DO IT!

9. Don’t fear the weather

No one likes trudging out when it’s a miserable day but for composition purposes, brave the grey. Overcast days offer such great lighting and you can shoot against the sky when it’s dark which helps your subject pop. 

10. Work with the environment

Use what you have. You don’t need an expensive studio set up to nail your composition. Use the trees as frames or a hill’s curve as a leading line. The environment offers endless opportunities for creative composition.

mike browne commissions 033

11. Add depth

Flat photos are boring. Consider the depth of field and add to it to make it more inviting for the viewer. Think about the layers to your photo and how they highlight your subject.

12. Experiment

Don’t be afraid to try new techniques. Take the normal practice for shooting a sunset for example and turn it on it’s head - change the angle, use a fresh framing option. You won’t know whether it works until you try.

13. Practice

You will only improve with practice. 

Get out there and take the rule book - try the standard composition tools, get comfortable with them and then shake them up and use the tips we’ve shared here to blow your composition skills up!

Photography is about storytelling and when you compose your photo you are piecing together the plot for the viewer. Think about how you can make it more exciting, more emotive or more creative. Always try and improve.

Join a photography group where you can share photos and feedback. 

Follow photographers you admire and learn from them.

Take everything you learn and put it into practice - your photography will benefit.