Sep 08 2006

Five Composition Rules Every Beginner Should Know

Published by at 4:21 pm under Better Photos

When you are beginning a new hobby, there are always important rules and tricks that you should learn from the professionals to help you become skilled at your craft. Photography is no different. To learn to compose a better picture, read and practice the following five rules:


First, always go with your gut. If you see something that you think would be a beautiful picture, take the shot, even if it means you are breaking all of the other traditional photography composition rules. In the end, you may be wrong, but always try to follow your instinct to get those breathtaking photographs.


Learn the Rule of Thirds. There’s a reason why your camera’s viewfinder probably includes a grid if you want it-the points on the grid where the lines meet are the places that are most visually interesting. The Rule of Thirds is the single most easily followed rule to make your picture stand out as a level above the rest. When putting this rule into effect, remember that you don’t have to hit every sweet spot on the plan or get a picture that matches up to the lines perfect-its just a general guideline.


Next, be sure that your picture is natural. Take a moment to look at the frame logically. You can frame a picture to follow the Rule of Thirds in many different ways, but some just don’t look correct. If there is an action taking place, make sure you give that action some room. For example, if you are taking a picture of a dog running, leave more room in front of the dog than behind. The eye will visually find this more pleasing.


Create lines to give the picture more interest. You can use real-life lines, such as roads or fences, or you can use the elements of the photograph to lead your eye in a specific way. Generally, diagonals that form a triangle or all lead you to a specific point are most attractive, as are curves that create an “S” shape in the frame. Remember too that if your eye runs through a point on the Rule of Thirds grid, it will be more visually interesting.


Lastly, make sure your colours are effective. Play with lighting to find what works for you and your subject matter. Try shooting the same landscape at different points in the day-your results may be drastically different. Also create good balance with color so that the picture is not too light or too dark and that the tones create contrast. You may want to experiment with black and white photography to get a feel for this.

and then … Practice

Once you’ve learned these basic rules of composition, the other best piece of advice that any new photographer can receive is a single word: Practice. By using your camera and applying the rules of good composition, you can learn how to create beautiful photographs.

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