Photography on many levels is extremely simple. You don’t even need a camera these days as most decent smartphones have good cameras built in, so anyone can take a great quality picture in seconds at the touch of a button. And yet by just pointing and snapping without really thinking about what that picture is going to turn out like, you’re not going to be making the best use of your equipment and your photos will undoubtedly have the potential to be a whole lot better.
Composition is arguably the most important aspect of photography. It enables you to tell a story, to bring into focus exactly what you want to show off, and to present things in a way that’s interesting. There are certain elements that are simply just more pleasing to the human eye, and techniques that will help you make your pictures as engaging as possible. Here are 5 ways beginner photographers can improve their composition.
Finger Framing the Shot
A great way for beginners to figure out what to include in a shot and what to cut out is to make a frame with your fingers at arm's length, and see what your eye is drawn to within the box your fingers form. You can also do this with an actual frame cut from card which you can hold up in front of you. This way you’ll start to work out focal points, and train your eye to spot good subjects without even having to look through the camera lens.
Study Photography You Like
You probably have an idea of the kind of photography that you enjoy personally, so study it and see the types of compositions that are used in your favorite images. You’ll probably start to notice trends of focal points, subject matter, and how the images are balanced.
Follow the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds entails dividing an image into a grid with 9 boxes, or thirds horizontally and vertically. The most important parts of your images should fall where these lines are. For example rather than a landscape being half land and half sky, try one third land and two thirds sky, or vice versa, and you’ll instantly notice a difference. Most cameras have a grid setting which will overlay the grid over the viewfinder.
Learn the Rule of Odds
Asymmetry is hugely important to many aspects of design, from interior to clothing, and photography is no different. Ones, threes, fives, even sevens are naturally more pleasing to the eye than even numbers, so try and include an odd number of elements in your images.
Pay Attention to Negative Space
Negative, or white space, is the area around your subject that doesn’t specifically have anything in it. This could be a clear blue sky in a landscape photo, or a large block of a single color behind the subject of a portrait. Negative space allows your intended subject to really stand out from the background and leads the eye in towards it rather than competing with it.
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