How to Take Better Pictures: Composition

So, you’ve got your hands on a digital camera, snagged a Flickr account and started uploading. But after a few days of browsing “Explore” photos on Flickr, do you end up feeling like your photos just aren’t cutting it? Or hopefully you’ve avoided the hit to your ego and just are looking for a way to bring your shots up a notch? Here’s your chance.
Fundamentally, photography is an art of presentation – we are capturing moments of light and showing them to our friends, family, and even strangers. For those captured moments to be effect though, they need to do more than just hit the eyes of the viewer – they need to create a response! You want your photos to make your viewer smile like you were smiling, feel awed by the scenery just like you felt when standing there, or feel moved to compassion by the scene that struck your heart. Today I’ll show you some simple steps to help get your photos to the next level of effectiveness.
Composition is simply the way things are put together in your photo. Now, art is not like math – rules are made to be broken! But the basic rules of composition will let you form more effective photographs. After you understand and use these rules in your photos, you’ll start seeing how to effectively break them as well!
Rule of Thirds
If you imagine dividing the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, you end up with something like a tic-tack-toe grid. The “rule of thirds” says that the subject of your photo should be positioned at one of the intersections of those lines and that the horizon (if prominent) should be on one of the horizontal lines. Look at this photo and notice how the horizon line and position of the riders helps draw you into the photo and along the beach with the horses.

by mikebaird
Negative Space
Negative space doesn’t mean “bad attitude space”, it means areas of the photo that are left blank. You can use this empty space to help focus attention on your subject and enhance the mood or feeling you want to share with others. For example, a feeling of motion can be enhanced by leaving empty space in the direction of travel of your subject (as with the photo of the horse riders above). Detachment can also be enhanced by open space. Sometimes, negative space isn’t blank space but rather a missing element, as in the last photo in this series.

by riotjane

by Luke Stearns

by erlin1
I’ve had this blog post drafted for a while now, so I’m just going to go ahead and post it. Do you have any examples of great composition to share? Post in the comments!

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