9 Simple Tips to Compose a Better Photo

December 15, 2010 · 11 comments

in Tips & Tricks

In photography, what kind of camera equipment you have isn’t as important as the composition of the photo. So, what makes a nicely composed photo to a bad one? Here are some simple tips to follow before you click the shutter button. Remember that to compose a good photo takes time, patience, practice and a bit of luck too.

1.) Move around

When trying to frame an object, move physically closer, rather than zooming in with your lens. You might also find yourself moving around a bit, trying to find the right angle.

2.) Check the background

Sometimes we can focus too much on the foreground and forget about the background. A busy background can be equally as distracting. A trick is to fill the frame with the subject and decrease the depth-of-field (f1.8 rather than f8)

Photo by dawnzy58

3.) Know your color contrasts

Photographing your subject against a complementary color can really make the subject stand out. For example, if the subject is someone is wearing purple, they will look more striking in front of a green background, rather than a blue one.

Photo by billaday

4.) Follow the rules, then break them

In photography there are many composition rules. Such as the rule of thirds, golden section rule and diagonal rule. Learn them, know them, use them. Then, once you’re confident with them, start breaking them in some of your photos.

Photo by fd

5.) Lookout for lines

Are eyes are naturally drawn to lines. A continuous line can make a photo more interesting as it gives directions to where the eye should look. It doesn’t need to be a straight line, in fact, curves, zigzags and radial lines probably adds more character.

Photo by arndt_100

6.) Find the light

What usually separates a great photo to a bland one is the use of lighting. Compose your photo according to the lighting, which may mean moving around a bit and finding the right angle. As a rule of thumb, never have the lighting directly behind, above or in front of your subject, especially when you’re taking portraits. This can create flat photos or too much shadows.

Photo by Yiie

7.) See it from a different viewpoint

Alter your viewpoint to compose your photo differently. Don’t always shoot eye-to-eye or standing up. Change it up a bit every so often.

Photo by tangi_bertin

8.) Patterns and symmetry

As much as our eyes love lines, they also love patterns and symmetry. A mirrored photo with perfect symmetry can be a powerful focal point.

Photo by coda

9.) Keep it simple

When in doubt, always keep it simple. Have a white background, center your subject and make sure your frame is uncluttered.

Photo by Csizmadia Tamás

Article by

1 part ad agency. 2 parts freelancer. An avid urban photographer, traveler, and streetwear lover. Geeky curator of all things awesome. Sustains on Vegemite, meat pies and lamingtons. Follow me on Twitter or Flickr.

Yi has written 69 awesome articles for us at Photoble

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