Composition| Photography Tips For Beginners

If you’re new to photography, and don’t know where to start, I’ve got your back!

Jumping into the world of photography can be a struggle, so I’m going to share my notes from my various photography classes with you, hoping that they help! This first lesson (can we call it that? let’s go with it.) is all about composition, so you can make your photographs as pleasing to the eye as possible!

(Keep in mind that you can’t possibly follow all of these “guidelines” in one picture! Feel free to experiment; the most important ones (to me at least) are the Rule of Thirds and putting the horizon line on one of the Rule of Thirds lines.)

 

  • Rule of Thirds
    • 3×3 frame, don’t put the subject in middle, put it on one of the lines or where they intersect!
    • imagine a number sign, or as our generation says, a hashtag (#)
    • basically, don’t put anything in the centre of your photograph
  • Balance Elements
    • have something on each side
    • imagine the picture as a scale
  • Leading Lines
    • use elements of the scene to create a lined pattern that will draw the viewers eye and allow the eye to follow the lines
    • horizontal lines= static and calm, vertical= permanence and stability, diagonal= drama movement and uncertainty
  • Symmetry and Patterns
    • makes it eye catching
    • creates tension
  • Viewpoint
    • i.e. an upwards angle creates a more powerful feel
    • angle down on the subject (wimpy, sympathetic), angle sideways
    • IDEA! take a picture from lying on your back to get different view
  • Background
    • don’t make it too busy
    • don’t keep it too much in focus, blur it a bit
  • Depth
    • here is where the idea of “you can’t use all of these in one picture” comes in, above I said not to have the background in focus, where below it’ll say to have it in focus. it all depends how you want YOUR picture to be
    • objects in fore, middle and background; layer
  • Framing
    • have stuff around the edge to isolate main subject
    • if you’re taking a picture of a vacant street, use the buildings on both sides to frame it
  • Cropping
    • crop around [small] subject to get rid of noise in background
  • Simplify the Scene
      • basically get rid of clutter, make the background bare or as less busy as possible
    • Use silhouettes by putting the light behind the subject
    • Fill the frame
      • don’t leave empty space
      • zoom in as close as possible to a subject

 

  • Space to Move
    • humans look ahead; if you’re taking a picture of car headed to the left, then leave some empty space to the left of it
  • Colours
    • contrast, not same shade: blue and orange, purple and yellow, red and green, black and white!
  • Use odd numbers
    • more appealing to the eye
    • take a picture of three under water basket weavers instead of two
  • Texture
    • creates dimension (brick, cement, velvet, etc.)
  • Horizontal Line
    • do not put in middle of frame
    • above or below, depending on the image
  • Lean into Frame
    • when photographing animals and people, have them looking into camera

 

 

 

Good luck! Tweet me your pictures @susanarnold_ or tag me in them on Instagram with @susanarnold_

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