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How to Improve Composition in Your Photographs

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Old 10-05-2019, 09:17 AM
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Default How to Improve Composition in Your Photographs

There are a lot of elements involved in taking a good photograph, from finding the perfect lighting to choosing your camera settings. However, one of the most important elements of a photo is the composition, or how the image is arranged within the frame. It can take a lot of practice to learn how to compose a picture, but there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you get started.


[Edit]Choosing Your Subject
  1. Give the viewer something distinct to focus on. When you’re choosing what to photograph, look for an interesting detail or object to be the main point of interest in your picture. This can help keep your picture from being too cluttered, which can leave the viewer unsure of where to look.[1]
    • For instance, you might choose to photograph one person rather than a whole group, or you might feature one interesting stone on the bank of a river, instead of trying to focus on the entire scene.
    • This doesn’t mean that you only have to photograph one object. For instance, the contrast of a flock of dark birds silhouetted against a hazy sky can make a very interesting picture. Similarly, if you’re looking at a row of cars, you might frame the shot so one car is the focus, with the rest of the cars extending into the background.
  2. Look for lines that point to the subject of your photo. Sometimes, you may be able to find lines or objects that point towards the object you’re photographing. These lines will guide the viewer’s eyes toward your subject, and you may see them referred to as “leading lines.”[2]
    • For instance, if you’re photographing a building in the distance, you might include the road leading to it in the foreground of your picture.
    • City skylines or natural horizons can provide horizontal leading lines in your photo.
  3. Consider including odd-numbered groups in your picture, rather than even. If you can, try to compose your photo so you’re showcasing an odd number of elements. For some reason, the human eye tends to see groups of odd-numbered objects or people as more visually interesting than even-numbered groups.[3]
    • For instance, you might photograph a group of 5 ducks walking down the sidewalk or 3 friends walking together in the snow.
    • These elements don’t always have to be the same thing. You could photograph a dog and a cat sitting next to each other while looking up at a bird, for instance, or you might shoot an interior setting featuring a couch, a lamp, and a large painting.
  4. Look for interesting colors to showcase in your photos. Color is very powerful in an image. It can draw the viewer into your photo, and it can help set a certain tone. To make your photo composition stronger, look around your subject for anything in the background or foreground that might add additional color into your picture.[4]
  5. Try to include contrast in your photos. Contrast creates tension, which will make any picture more interesting. You can feature visual contrast, such as differences in size, shape, or color, as well as more subtle contrast like light and shadow or sharpness and softness. However, you can also choose a more thematic contrast, like taking a picture of something new next to something very old, something clean against something dirty, or a very ordered sequence near something chaotic.[5]
    • A person with half their face covered by a shadow can create a dramatic effect, for instance.
    • Another way to create contrast is to include various textures, like paving stones nestled in the grass or a gravelly beach against smooth water.
[Edit]Framing the Shot
  1. Place important elements in your photo along imaginary lines. To emphasize your subject, imagine lines running through or around the image, then try to arrange the picture along those lines. There are a variety of different lines you can use, from the outside frame to a spiral running through the entire image.
    • It might seem complicated at first to imagine lines through your picture. However, as you practice composing your photos, you’ll likely find that you start to do this without even thinking of it.
  2. Compose your image within the 4 frame lines on the outside of the picture. The first lines you have to image are the photo frame. This is the top, bottom, and sides of what the viewer will actually see. You may want to fill the frame with your image completely, or you may prefer to leave negative space inside of the borders of the picture. However, avoid cutting your subject off with the border of the photo, unless doing so adds a particularly dramatic effect.[6]
    • Try to look for a frame within a frame, or anything that creates a natural border along your picture. For instance, you might photograph a person standing in a window or beneath an arch, or you might shoot a natural scene beneath an overhanging branch.[7]
  3. Place the image in the center of the frame if you're photographing something symmetrical. Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, so if you find something that’s beautifully balanced, consider centering it in your photo, and fill up the whole frame. For instance, if you’re photographing a bridge, you might stand at one end in the center, then balance the photo so the water and rails of the bridge are evenly spaced on either side of the picture.[8]
    • Reflections of images in water are another example of symmetry that’s beautiful when it’s centered.
  4. Include horizontal lines to create stability. Horizontal lines in an image provide perspective and a sense of calm, so they can be a powerful way to ground your photograph. While the horizon or a skyline are always good options, you can create your own horizontal lines by including the tops of doorframes, lines on a rug, or electrical lines along a street.[9]
    • While horizontal lines will give your image a sense of stability, they’re not very interesting to look at, so try to include other elements in your photo to add tension, like vertical lines or contrasting colors or textures.
    • Most photographs are shot in a horizontal (or landscape) orientation.
  5. Create power by including vertical lines in your image. Vertical lines cause the viewer’s eyes to stop, so including them is a good way to bring emphasis to a certain object. For instance, you might photograph a person standing at the corner of a building, since the vertical line will call attention to your subject.[10]
    • The taller something is, the more powerful it seems to be, so try to bring the vertical line all the way from the top to the bottom of the image if you want to create a sense of drama.
    • To showcase a tall image, consider shooting your photograph in a vertical orientation.
  6. Divide the frame into a 3x3 grid to use the rule of thirds. One of the most common compositional techniques in photography is called the rule of thirds. This means you imagine dividing the image with 2 evenly-spaced vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines, creating a grid of 9 total squares. You can create an interesting, balanced photograph by arranging your image along these lines or placing elements of your photo where these lines intersect.[11]
    • For instance, you might photograph a house so that the roof runs along the top horizontal line, with the chimney rising up along one of the vertical lines.
    • Some digital cameras will have a setting that superimposes this 3x3 grid over your image, which can help you as you get used to composing your pictures this way.
  7. Use diagonals to add tension and carry the viewer’s eye across the image. Diagonal lines have an effect that’s somewhere between the stability of horizontal lines and the power of vertical lines. However, they can cause the viewer to feel uneasy, especially if you don’t have any horizontal or vertical lines to ground the image.[12]
    • For instance, tilting the camera so a building appears tilted can have an unsettling effect. However, a diagonal pathway stretching back to the horizon would be interesting without being overwhelming, and the viewer’s eye would be inclined to travel along the path.
    • Triangular-shaped objects, like a picture of a pyramid or 2 tree branches intersecting, can be effective at creating a pleasing tension in your photograph.
    • Try following the rule of golden triangles to make use of diagonals. Divide the frame with a diagonal line running from one corner to another. Then, imagine lines coming from the 2 remaining corners, stretching down to the first diagonal. Compose your image so it falls along these lines for an artistic, dynamic feel.
  8. Include curved lines to suggest movement in your photograph. Curved lines give an organic feeling of motion to a picture, and they can provide a beautiful contrast against harsh lines. In addition, curved lines give a soft, feminine feel to a photograph. You can often find curves in nature, so look around when you’re taking a picture and see if you can find one to include.[13]
    • For instance, the gentle curves of flower petals are especially pretty when you contrast them against a brick wall.
    • Imagine a curved line reaching from one corner of your photo, then spiraling in toward the center of your image. This is the golden spiral, and it’s another guideline you can use for lining up the subject in your photo.
[Edit]Adding Visual Interest to Your Photos
  1. Focus on elements in the foreground to add depth to a shot. When you’re composing your picture, look for objects in the foreground that you can feature. This can help demonstrate the distance between the objects in the foreground and those in the background.[14]
    • This looks especially artistic the focus would normally be on the object in the background, like including rocks or stones in the foreground of a photo of a waterfall.
    • You can also blur the background by using a shallow depth of field if you want the focus to only be on the foreground of the picture.
    • Pay careful attention to your background when you’re composing a shot to make sure there’s not anything that can be distracting. A tree branch can easily look like horns coming out of your subject’s head, for instance.
  2. Change your point of view. Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground or climb up high to give the viewer a perspective they don’t normally see. A simple change in your angle can take an ordinary image and make it something really special.[15]
    • For instance, try crouching down on the floor to get a good shot of a child playing, or stand on a stepstool and point the camera down and at a slight angle if you’re photographing a plate of food.
  3. Use negative space to show movement. When you’re photographing an object in motion, try to leave empty space in front of that object. That way, the viewer will be able to imagine the object moving into that empty space as it continues to travel.
    • For instance, if a car is driving from left to right, you’d leave more empty space to the right of the car than to its left.
    • The faster the item is moving, the more space you should leave.
    • Similarly, your subjects should be facing into toward the center of the frame rather than toward the outer edges.[16]
  4. Compose your image from left to right. If you live in a culture where people read from left to right, you should keep in mind that most people also scan through an image this way. For instance, if you’re taking a picture of someone walking, your composition will seem more dynamic if the person is walking from left to right instead of left to right.[17]
  • Keep in mind that these are all guidelines that can help make your photographs sooner. However, they aren’t hard and fast rules, so trust your artistic eye. Also, feel free to mix and match different elements as they suit you.
[Edit]Related wikiHows
  1. ? https://www.thephotoargus.com/photog...s-composition/
  2. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  3. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  4. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  5. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  6. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  7. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  8. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  9. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  10. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  11. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  12. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  13. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/
  14. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  15. ? https://www.thephotoargus.com/photog...s-composition/
  16. ? https://petapixel.com/2016/09/14/20-...mprove-photos/
  17. ? https://improvephotography.com/50601...-guide-part-1/


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