Composition is one of the most important ingredients in what makes a great photograph. Along with light, it is what gives an image its power and ability to connect with the viewer. Many aspiring photographers tend to ignore how they frame and instead, they worry about lenses, cameras, flashes and other technical aspects. Having the right gear is important, but it’s useless if your composition skills are missing. Good light might save some of the situations, but overall, beautiful photography is dependent on good composition. Here are 6 tips to help you improve your composition
1. Know what to leave out
Since many people compare photography with drawing and painting, one of the key differences between these art forms is that the artist with the brush has to decide what to create within the frame, while the photographer must know what elements that are already present, to remove. It’s very important to develop this ability of knowing what to leave out of a photograph. Generally, a photographer’s options are zooming and moving around the subject. Sometimes, all the moving and zooming won’t fully eliminate unwanted elements from the frame, and that is the time to resort to cleaning the images in post processing. However, I don’t recommend relying on removal in post processing all the time. It is helpful, but doing it “in camera” is usually better.
2. Mind the horizon
It can be quite tricky to get a perfectly balanced horizon. Use the grid in your viewfinder or the top of it as a reference. With a bit of practice, you’ll eventually have no trouble in aligning it correctly. Also, consider using the LCD screen when composing an image. Some DSLRs don’t have 100% coverage, but the screen does.
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3. Master the rule of thirds
It’s one of the most popular rules in photography and there is no excuse for not knowing it. Why? Because only by knowing it will you be able to correctly determine when it’s best to ignore it. There are situations when this rule works best and there are also times to break it.
4. Avoid leaving large spaces empty
Leaving them will cause your photo to look imbalanced. These spaces are often represented by stretches of water, skies and fields. Having too much of any of them in the composition could make it look uninteresting. The way to deal with this is by constantly looking for a different perspective.
5. Clearly define your subject
Unless it is a landscape you’re photographing, where the angle of view is usually wide and there many elements to be included, your photos should have a clearly defined subject that should be separated from the background. Whoever is viewing the photo should not have to wonder which part you wanted to draw attention to.
6. Look for balance
Balance is one of the most important adjectives of a good composition. Having a good subject is essential , but it is equally important to place it inside the frame in a way that makes it look good .Whenever there is an element that has the potential to upset the balance of a photograph, don’t settle for keeping in the composition. Instead, have a look at things from a different angle.
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If you want to keep studying about composition, these books are a great source: