Last Updated on January 4, 2021
One of the key elements of a beautiful image is great composition. Composition can often seem hard to define. Many photographers like to think of it as ingredients that come together to make a meal (rather than a specific set of technical rules or terms).
In essence, composition refers to the elements of your scene as they are arranged in the frame of your photo. In the end, you’ll decide as a photographer what works best for your own blog or business, and how you like to take your photos.
But, whether you’re using a DSLR camera or a smartphone — we hope these tips will help you to understand basic composition, and ignite your creativity when it comes to taking photos.
11 Basic Composition Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs
1. The Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well-known composition tools. To use this tip, imagine dividing your photo into nine equal segments (with two vertical and two horizontal lines). Position the most important elements of your scene along the points where these lines intersect. In doing so, you’ll add balance to your scene.
You can see it every time you use cropping tool in Photoshop
2. Image Orientation
When it comes to taking photos, image orientation refers to the angle of your images — the way you take and display your photos. As you work to discover your own style, you’ll start to think about what type of orientation you prefer.
Horizontal refers to “landscape” shots and vertical refers to “portrait” shots. Experimenting with these various angles in different situations will help you discover what works best in your own approach to photography.
For example, the horizontal and vertical picture of the bouquet of flowers
As a general rule, simple images tend to be more appealing. If you work to get rid of the distracting elements in your photo, you’ll be left with less. This means your viewers won’t get lost in the mess of details or elements that aren’t doing anything to enhance the image.
4. Filling the Frame/Cropping
The frame simply refers to the edges of your photograph. Filling the frame means to get close to your subject and ensure that it fills your final image. This helps capture the story that you are looking to tell.
As subjects can often become lost in images when they’re too small in the overall frame, you can always fix this through cropping. All you have to do is crop around the subject and eliminate a bit of that excess distracting background.
Crop off the unnecessary space to concentrate on the subject
The right background can turn an otherwise flat image into a dynamic one (or an otherwise dynamic image into a flat image).
A good way to think of the background in your image is to simply check the scene out and ask yourself: how can I compose my shot so that the background does not distract the viewer from my subject?
For example, such a colorful background can be distracting from the subject
This simpler background will probably work better
Color is a creative way to portray mood in the composition of your photos.
Think, for example, about an image filled entirely with red, orange, and yellow leaves of autumn trees. To one side of the photo, there’s a deep turquoise cottage. That color, along with the placement of the cottage, works to draw your viewer’s eye to that particular portion of the image.
7. Use of Lines
A simple yet powerful way to improve the composition of your photos is through use of lines. Lines work to draw the viewer’s eye to the image and keep the viewer’s attention. It’s an easy tip to remember and apply when taking photos because lines are everywhere: from railroad tracks, picture frames, to doorways.
Leading lines in a library
8. Symmetry and Geometry
Symmetry refers to the idea that an object or scene is made up of exactly similar parts. This makes it look uniform, consistent, and often, pleasing to the eye.
Imagine two palm trees facing one another on the opposite side of a beautiful, sunny beach. Or envision six cupcakes on either side of the main birthday cake. In photography, symmetry adds balance and brings a sense of harmony to your images.
Similarly, you can start to think about geometry in your photos (shapes like triangles, squares, and rectangles) to bring out unique compositional elements in the scene.
9. Viewpoint and Angles
With photographic composition, viewpoint and perspective can have a huge impact in the end result of your images. Try using this as an exercise in composition: every time you think of snapping your photo, first think of WHERE you are standing and WHERE you are pointing your lens.
If you’re taking a photo of a bridge, how might that photo look different if it’s shot from below the bridge or above it? What if you change the viewpoint of the bridge so that your viewers see its suspension cables up close, making it almost abstract?
Once you start thinking of things beyond “eye-level”, your images will become more intriguing and interesting.
Golden Bridge from different viewpoints
10. Positioning Moving Objects
When dealing with composition of moving objects consider this: give your objects space to move into.
If, for example, you’re snapping a shot of your dog running on the grass chasing his ball, think of giving your dog space to move into to make the image more visually appealing. Instead of placing empty space behind your dog, place the empty space in front of him (so he has somewhere to run).
11. Edit Photos
Editing images can help to improve every aspect of composition: from colors, framing, to image orientation. Today, there are a lot of professional easy-to-use tools out there.
For example, you can use editing programs to remove some objects from the picture:
Deleting the unnecessary objects in Luminar
Then combine the old and the new image to show the result:
Joining “before” and “after” images in Photoshop
Or, you enhance the picture with some effects and make it look more contrasted:
Learning about composition techniques and applying them in your photography will help you get some incredible end results, as well as stretch your skills as a photographer. Whether you’re dealing with Rule of Thirds, Symmetry, or Viewpoints, we hope you’ll find these tips useful as you venture into your photography journey ahead.