Tips For Composing Great Photos

vintage camera

Rule Of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a good idea to keep in mind but definitely doesn’t apply for every photograph you will take. When you are framing your shot think of your screen being divided up into nine equal parts by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines – kind of like a tic tac toe board. Align your subject in 1/3 of the frame either horizontally or vertically, not both. It’s generally a good idea to keep your subject out of the middle of the frame if you want to create an artistic, interesting composition.

Change Your Viewpoint
Before photographing your subject, take time to think about where you will shoot it from. You will naturally tend to shoot straight on, but if you get creative and try new viewpoints, you can change the feel of the image drastically. Simply changing the height or angle of view can give your photos a much more interesting and creative look. If you’re feeling daring, you can change up the focus for even more creativity!

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are shooting from different heights and angles. Keep in mind that people shot from a low angle will look taller while people shot from a high angle will seem short. This is extremely important in children’s photography. Adults literally look down on children, so when photographing them, be sure that you are at their level or be aware of how they are being portrayed by the angle that you are taking the photo from.

Be Odd
Three really is a magic number, especially in photography and composition. I’m not just talking about people or objects. Reduce your composition to three colors or three tones…you’ll notice a difference immediately. Odd subject numbers seem to work well because they fit better into a symmetrical frame.

Keep It Simple
Keep things very simple and clean. Pay attention to your background and take a minute or two to move lights or objects that may distract from the story you are trying to tell. I have made the mistake of not watching my background (especially in wedding photography when things are always hectic) too many times. While editing, I don’t know how many times I have thought, “If only I had moved that!” Take the time to really pay attention and it will save you headaches later. You have a story to tell, make sure not to distract your viewer.

Take More Shots than you’ll Need
Boy am I a pro at that! If I have a weakness, it’s that I tend to take too many photos. I’d much rather have too many to choose from than not enough. Taking numerous shots of the same moment has allowed me to catch different subtle variations in lighting and people slightly changing their expressions – allowing for a perfect shot. These perfect moments may have been missed if I only took one photo.

Make Your Own Rules
It’s too easy to get caught up in what you should and shouldn’t do when you taking pictures. Try something new! Throw out the rules and change it up. See if what you do makes a difference. In this digital age, you aren’t out anything for taking extra shots. They can always be deleted if you don’t like them. Many of the best shots are taken while breaking the rules. The rules are more like guidelines…take them with a grain of salt and be creative!

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