top of page


Learning composition principles will only improve the quality of your images, regardless of the equipment you use (smartphone, point-and-shoot, DSLR, mirrorless camera, etc.). For your next session, we've compiled a list of our favorite composing guidelines for you to try out. You do not have to memorize or strictly adhere to these guidelines, but keeping them in mind will allow you to widen your photographic approach.

1. Make use of lead in lines and shapes.

Because our eyes are naturally drawn along lines in images, considering how, where, and why you place lines in your photos will influence how your audience interprets them. A road, for example, that starts at one end of the shot and winds its way to the other will lead the viewer's attention through the scene. You can have numerous emphasis areas along your line or just one main region focused at the conclusion of your line that the eye will naturally go toward. Shapes can also be employed in this way; imagine a triangle with three points of emphasis at the extremities of each point where the lines of the shape meet.

2. Understand the Rule of Thirds

The most fundamental of all photographic regulations, the rule of thirds, is dividing your shot into nine equal pieces using a set of vertical and horizontal lines. Center the most important element(s) in your photo on one of the lines or where the lines meet, with the imagined frame in place. It's a good approach for landscapes since the horizon can be placed on one of the horizontal lines that run through the bottom and top of the image, while vertical subjects (for example, trees) can be placed on one of the two vertical lines.

3. Frame Cropping / Filling

If your photo is losing impact owing to a congested background or surroundings, crop in close around your main point of focus, removing the background so that all attention is focused on your main topic. This is especially beneficial for portraits when you want to capture something more intimate and concentrated, or when shooting in a busy environment when what's around them would be a distraction. Filling the frame could mean photographing them from the waist up, or just their face for increased emphasis. Patterns are another subject to fill the frame with while photographing, carefully aligning it to ensure it is straight.

4. Play around with the background

While the background is not the focus of your picture shoot, it is crucial to the success of your shot. A good rule of thumb is to balance the subject of your shot with a background that will highlight it without overwhelming it. Photographing a peacock against the whitewash of an old country barn or a wrought-iron polished statue in the heart of a wild-flower garden would be a wonderful example.

5. Make good use of color.

Color can help you achieve so much in your photographs. Don't limit yourself to using only warm or complementary colors in a single shot—play around with it! Incorporate a small flare of red into an image of an ocean view with mostly serene blues. Photographing bright red sandals washing up on the beach may be an intriguing storytelling technique.

Bottom line:

We recommend that you try each of the above suggestions, either singly or in combination. The more you practice and experiment, the better you'll become as a photographer. Never stop trying out new angles and techniques.

4 views0 comments
bottom of page