Composition Tips In Photography

Composition Tips In Photography

I think the second biggest thing in photography after knowing how to work with light, is knowing how to compose your shot in an appealing way. There are many different ways to compose, frame or layer a picture, but the way they work is pretty simple. That is why I thought I give you my composition tips in photography today in this post. I know it is a big topic and I will only scratch the surface of it, but it will be enough to get you started. :

So let’s get started. 🙂

Rule of Thirds

This is one of the most important rules to learn beside a lot of others. 🙂 The basic thought behind the rule of thirds is that you divide your screen into four lines, into 9 same sized parts. like it is showcased in the picture below. Many cameras can even display that grid in the viewfinder as well as on screen.

Place the point of interest in your picture along those lines or even at the cross points. To make your picture more balanced.

Why Does It Make A Shot Better?

If you look at any beginner or person that takes a picture you will find they place the point of interest in the middle. (which can be good too) but since 98% of people do that it can make most pictures pretty boring.

Also, studies have shown that the eyes of a random viewer go naturally to one of the crosspoints of the grid and then to the middle. So keeping that in mind, you can decide what the viewer will see first and start to tell a story that way.

What Are The Points Of Interest In a Shot?

The points of interest are always what you want them to be, but here are some examples:

Portrait= the eyes

Landscape= the horizon or an interesting tree combined with the horizon

Where Does The Rule Of Thirds Work?

YES and that is all I got to say about that. No seriously Portraits, landscapes, macro you name it. It always works just try it out yourself

Keep In Mind

Rules are there to be broken. right? 😉 So what I want to say is that a picture doesn’t have to be bad because it is a centered shot. Some of them look awesome and wouldn’t look as good as they do when you apply the rule of thirds to them, but in my experience, the rule of thirds works almost nine out of ten times and that is quite an enhancement.

Also, Keep In Mind 🙂

You can still crop your picture in post-production and apply the rule of thirds there. Or even center the shot.


Leading Lines

The principle of leading lines is to guide the viewer eyes to the point of interest. The work very great in pictures that don’t use the rule of thirds for the point of interest. Usually, the leading line starts at the bottom of the picture and leads the viewer eyes into the middle section of the picture.

However, that is a pretty abstract and technical explanation. What I would invite you to do is to just experiment with them and find out what works for your the best.

composition tips in photography

Where Can I Find Natural Leading Lines?

Actually finding leading lines isn’t that hard. We just tend to oversee them when we don’t look out for them. Really everything is a leading line. A street, lanterns, handrails, an arm… everything.

You Can Even Make Your Own Ones.

If you are into long exposure photography you can even use motion blur to create leading lines to your subject. What I want to say is. Go nuts and experiment. 🙂

composition tips in photography


Framing

Framing is one of my favorite technics together with layering. All the composition techniques I showcase here can be combined with another one or even should be. 🙂  I know the picture itself is a frame already, but sometimes it is nice to have an inner frame in the picture to lead ones again the viewer eyes to your subject. It can be super effective when done right

composition tips in photography

What Can I Use As Frame?

You can use literally everything. From a window or a picture frame to a tunnel or trees covering the outside of the picture. 

composition tips in photography


Layering

I love to use layers in my compositions. Adding a foreground to the picture gives the picture more depth and makes it look 3D on a 2D surface. I think it really it really invites the viewer and makes his eyes go and explore the picture from the foreground to the background. Using a shallow depth of field really helps to bring across the depth feeling.

It Absolutely isn’t the most obvious thing to do or the easiest, but for me, that is one of the reasons why I like it so much. Plus not many other beginners use that technique in their compositions.

The hand is the foreground layer

What Can I Use As a Layer???

The answer is once again anything. 😀 But I made a little list of examples for you to get your mind going. 🙂

  1. Shoot Through Vegetation

Use bushes and branches to shoot through and create that feeling of depth. You can even combine the colors of the subject and what you shooting through with each other to create an even more compelling look.

 

  1. Shoot Through Windows

This is a big one for me. I love to shoot through glass and it really gives the picture a completely different feeling and it can even tell a story. Just go to a cafe get a window table and have a drink, have a chat with your model. Then go outside and shoot. Maybe the window of the coffee has a cool slogan on it. Use it. 🙂

You can even use the reflections in the windows to create an even more interesting picture or give the picture some context with reflections of the surroundings.

 Use The Structure Around You

Really just use anything around you. Fences, shoot between trees, use people in the foreground on the street. There are endless things you can use to create the feeling of depth. Even a simple thing like shooting along a wall can create a nice depth and lead the viewer eyes to your subject

composition tips in photography
By Brandon Woelfel, He is a genius in using layers

Just Hold Something Infront Of Your Camera.

Holding something directly in front of your lens makes it instantly out of focus and can create the feeling of depth too.

Things that work great for me.

  • A Prism

  • Branches

  • Light Chains

 


That’s already it with my composition tips in photography. I know We bearly scratched the surface, but I hope you were able to learn a few new things from the post. Now go and do the fun part practice 🙂

If you have any opinions or questions please let me know in the comments and I will get to you as soon as possible. Until then have fun and shoot amazing pictures 🙂

Cheers Aaron.

 

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6 thoughts on “Composition Tips In Photography

  1. Mark

    Hello Aaron
    May I say you have a talent for taking beautiful photos your knowledge of photography is a gift. Your explanation of using the light to and getting the subject in the grid is something most people wouldn’t even take into consideration and I never knew there was a thing called the blue hour. I have taken many photos of sunrises and sunsets over the ocean and the Long Island sound in the blue hour taking some awesome photos of sunsets over the water with the bright orange glow over everything is this still considered the blue hour even though the overwhelming orange glow of the entire photo? I think you have a beautiful website and will defiantly be back.
    Thanks Mark

    1. Aaron

      Hey mark, no its called golden hour like I said in the post 😉 the blue hour is the time directly before or after the golden hour when everything is purple and blue. 🙂 here is a link to an explanation for the blue hour: https://whatcameraguide.com/my

      and for the golden hour: https://whatcameraguide.com/?s

      I hope that clears things up 🙂 

  2. Win Bill Huang

    I have heard of the rule of thirds and fibonacci’s rule before. They really make the point of interest stand out. My only question before was what can you do when there are no people of interest in the photos.

    You gave a miraculous idea. Using lines to draw people’s attention. The cement corners, the big rocks that leads people’s eyes towards the horizon are all wonderful and beautiful. Now, I know how to make the best of my baby daughter’s shots. It would be much more interesting.

    By the way, this is trivial, but how do you make someone look “skinnier” in a photo?

    1. Aaron

      Hey Win, I’m glad to hear that my tips helped you 🙂 and thanks for the nice feedback:) How do you mean make somebody skinnier in Photoshop or in terms of posing? for Photoshop there is no quick explanation, but for posing try to use angles, make the subject lean on the leg that stands further away from you and make her use the arms maybe one on the hip and one in the hair to appear thinner.

  3. CJ508

    I’ve always had trouble with the rule of thirds, and i’ve had trouble finding a good explanation of it. I think that your article just opened my eyes.

    I also really like the idea of using layering to make my photos look better. I have been using lead lines for quite some time, but I’m really excited to play around with the layering now. In the past I have always tried to get obstructions out of my way and I never really looked at it as an enhancement.

    Thanks for the tips! Great article!

    1. Aaron

      Hey CJ, I’m glad my article opened your eyes. I did the same thing when I started I tried to frame everything in exactly the rule of thirds and any layer or frame was cut out of the picture. 🙂 later I realized how much more depth you can get when you put your something in front for the subject. Just keep practicing as I do 🙂 

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