Basic Photo Composition

If you pay attention to some simple rules of photographic composition

If you pay attention to some simple rules of photographic composition, rather than simply “pointing and shooting,” you’ll begin to notice a significant difference in your snapshots, even the ones you take of family events.

1) Remember, centered photos are boring. Pay attention the next time you’re in a movie theater; nothing is ever centered. Follos the rule of thirds – mentally divide the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and place the center of interest (usually your subject’s eyes) on one of those ‘third lines.’

2) Frame your pictures. If you’re taking scenics of a distant lake or mountain, look for an interesting frame. This is no different from framing a photo on your wall. Your frame can be tree branches, rocks, or some other interesting foreground object.

3) When shooting portraits, use the longest zoom setting your camera will allow (without using the “digital zoom”). Also use the widest aperture (or the lowest f-stop number). This will throw the background into a nice soft focus, drawing your viewer’s eyes right to your smiling subject.

4) Look for distractions in the frame. It’s hard to learn to do this, because your brain naturally filters out the telephone pole growing out of Uncle Joe’s head – but the photo printer won’t. Look for objects which will draw your viewer’s attention away from your desired center of interest.

Follow these four simple rules, and you’ll begin to see a dramatic improvement in your photos!


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