Simple Yet Effective Composition Tips That Have Tons of Impact
I remember the first camera I got, and all I wanted to do was bolt outside and start taking pictures that I just knew would be jaw-droppingly beautiful.
But, if you’ve been into photography for any amount of time, you know just how much time, effort, and patience it takes to become skilled at this craft.
It’s just not as simple as pointing your camera at something and pressing the shutter button…
But taking better photos also doesn’t have to be a hugely involved process, either. After all, we’re all busy and we all want better results sooner rather than later.
With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks that will help you compose more compelling images that will be more like the ones the pros take and less like the first photos I took back in the day when I was too impatient to learn a few tricks of the trade.
Fill the Frame
One of the hallmarks of a photo taken by a beginner is that there’s simply too much going on.
That is, rather than bringing the viewer’s attention directly to the primary subject, there’s foreground or background elements competing for attention.
Filling the frame helps rectify that problem.
Look at the image above, and note how filling the frame means there’s nothing to take your eye off the baby.
What’s more, because we have such an up-close view, the portrait feels much more intimate with the baby’s facial features on full display.
Exaggerate the Subject’s Importance
Once you’ve figured out what your photo is really about, it’s time to make the subject shine by making it an even more important element in the shot.
For example, when photographing a landscape, incorporate elements that give a sense of scale to the space. In the image above, the inclusion of a human figure allows us to better understand the sheer breadth and depth of the waterfall, as well as the volume of water that’s involved.
You can also exaggerate the subject’s importance by using contrast. In this case, the darker form of the man contrasts nicely with the brightness of the water. Again, this helps the viewer’s eye move directly to the human figure, which is the most important element of the shot.
Give Your Images Depth
One of the struggles with photography is that you’re trying to represent a three-dimensional scene in a two-dimensional medium, such that it still has that three-dimensional feel.
One way that you can do that is to incorporate compositional elements that help you create more depth and dimension in your photos.
For example, including an element in the foreground often gives the image depth while also helping define the space. In the image above, the elk’s positioning in the foreground helps us understand just how far away the mountains in the background actually are.
What’s more, that foreground-background connection helps this photo tell a better story about this elk – that it’s living in a vast wilderness, seemingly left to survive all on its own.
Including foreground interest is especially beneficial in landscape photos, like the one above.
Here, the rocks along the bottom of the frame invite your eye into the shot by delighting it with various colors and textures.
Because the photo was taken with a wide-angle lens, you also feel as though you’re standing right there along the shore.