Composition can be a tricky subject to understand.
Here are a few simple composition tips to keep in mind when taking photographs.
These tips will help you improve your photography and it will also make you think about your image before you press the shutter release.
Look for the basic triangles in your scene, these triangles will be formed naturally by the shapes in the environment or structures.
Enhance the detail:
Move closer to the subject; create a tighter crop to enhance the detail and add impact.
The photograph below shows the lady standing in a park and it does not add impact to the image.
By zooming in or moving closer to the subject creating a tighter crop, adds impact to the portrait (see below). The crop emphasis on the model's face, her make-up and her eyes.
Use Selective focus:
Use a wider aperture (f2.8 orf5.6) to blur the background. This will isolate the main subject from the background.
Change your View Point:
It is always best to take a little more time with your photography, especially in finding the most interesting view. Look around and find a different spot to shoot from than the one just in front of you: take a walk down paths, look for new angles, this means getting down lower to the ground, finding a higher up vantage point to photograph from. Explore your scene and experiment with different viewpoints and you will find something magical.
I took this photograph, but was not happy as the green foliage on the bottom left corner looks messy. I decided to change my viewpoint.
I decided to point the camera down at the flower bud. The background is blurred, isolating the subject from its messy foliage.
Include leading lines in your image. Look out for a natural lines leading to the subject. These could be a path, road, fence, etc.
Organise shapes to create a repeated pattern.
Compose for Contrast:
Isolate the subject to create a contrast. Look out for subjects that 'stand-out' the most. Photograph these subjects by moving closer.
Use Natural Frames:
Look out for doorways, tree arches, frames created naturally. Include these in your photographs.
Use Rule of Third:
Use 'Rule of Third' as guide to frame the scene. Place the subject on the points where the vertical and horizontal lines meet.
Watch your Horizon:
It’s best that before you take a photograph always look at the horizon on two points:
a)Is the horizon straight? It is easier to have your horizon straight in the camera viewfinder before pressing the shutter release, saving time to straighten the image later in editing softwares.
b)Where to place the horizon? The ‘correct’ natural spot for a horizon is on either the top third line or the bottom line of the ‘rule of thirds’, rather than completely in the middle. In saying this, rules can be broken if you are completely sure that your image with the horizon is very striking.
(See diagram below for where to place the horizon)
Example of photograph showing the horizon on the 'Top Third' line.
Example of photograph showing the horizon on the 'Bottom Third' line.
Most importantly be creative and enjoy taking photographs.
I hope this brief insight into Composition assists you in taking better photographs.