A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Better Photos: Photo Composition 101
Sure, photography is an art, but a few basic tools can help you improve the quality of any photo you take. We asked our in-house Vidigami professional photographer to share some of her best tips on photo composition. Read on to get her top four tips…
#1: “Rule of Thirds”
This one helps you choose the most important parts of an image.
- Look at the scene in your camera’s viewfinder or on the LCD screen.
- In your head, break down the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.
- Or, turn on gridlines on your digital camera.
The “gridlines”will not only help you identify which parts of the image you should place emphasis on, but also how to position your shot. If the important parts of of the image are placed either on the gridlines or the intersections, this will deliver a more balanced photo. In the image below, the girl’s face is on one of the intersection points since it’s the most important part of this photo:
Using the “Rule of Thirds” is valuable because viewers tend not to look at a photo starting with its center, but rather naturally notice one of the intersection points first.
#2: “Remember to Move”
Try to not stand in just one spot shooting pictures of your subject from the same angle. Instead, get creative about the image’s perspective for more interesting shots.
- Use high and low angles to change the perspective of the image. Taking a bird’s eye photo of someone tells a different story and gives a unique view than from a shot taken from below.
- For action shots, follow your subject and try to get your shot head on. This allows you to capture the emotion within the photo and the scene itself.
#3: “People Photography”
When you are shooting photos of people, don’t forget about their background. Trees? Horizon lines? They can distort the image you’re trying to capture, so here are a few things to remember:
- Crop out a cluttered background by shooting close to the individual.
- Choose simple backgrounds to not distract from the focus of the shot.
- For up to two people in the shot, it’s better to shoot portrait (vertically) so you don’t miss any feature or body part. Shoot landscape (horizontally) for three or more people.
- It’s best not to use a low angle for people photos – it’s less flattering!
#4: “Group Shots”
Large group and team shots can be tricky to fit all the subjects into the photo. Keep these in mind:
- Tripods are your best friend to prevent accidentally eliminating anyone from a group shot – there is nothing like a missing basketball member from a team photo.
- Use a wide angle lens so you don’t accidentally crop anyone out.
- Make sure everyone is visible in the shot: tall people in the back.
- Take lots of photos. Chances if you’re shooting a large group, someone will have their eyes closed for at least one of the shots.
Most importantly though? Have fun experimenting!