If you have any interest in photography, there’s a good chance you’ve already noticed that two people can take pictures of the same subject, yet one person’s photo might come out dramatically better than the other person’s shot.
There are plenty of reasons this can happen. However, shot composition is often one of the most important factors. Where you position certain elements within the frame can make a big difference in the quality of your photos.
Are you just starting to learn the basics of photography? If so, keep the following simple photography composition tips in mind. They’ll help you take much stronger photos right away:
4 Essential Composition Tips to Boost Your Photography Skills
Learn the Rule of Thirds
Our guide on the rule of thirds explains this basic photography concept. It essentially involves breaking your frame up into thirds to help you determine where to position certain elements. Give the guide a read to learn how you can leverage this principle to your advantage.
Include Something in the Foreground
Plenty of new photographers have had the experience. You spot a beautiful landscape, sunset, or similar view. You know anyone could take a picture of it and be happy with the results. However, when you actually look at the photo you snapped, it somehow doesn’t have the effect you intended.
This is often because the picture may look somewhat flat. A basic way to improve the composition and make it more interesting is to add something in the foreground of the frame. For instance, if you were sitting in a field and taking a picture of a gorgeous landscape, you might position your camera behind a flower or tree to give the picture more depth.
Choose a Horizon Line
It’s important to remember that many photography “rules” are actually just guidelines. There are times when you should break the rules due to the nature of your subject or setting.
However, in general, it often helps to choose a horizon line for your photos. Like the rule of thirds, this involves thinking of the frame as a grid, with horizontal and vertical lines breaking the frame up into sections.
(Tip: Many smartphone cameras and camera apps now allow users to actually overlay a grid over the screen to help them take stronger photos.)
Choose one of the horizontal lines, and compose your shot so it relatively lines up with some type of “line” in your shot. This can be an obvious line, like the horizon if you were shooting a picture of the ocean. However, if there isn’t a natural horizon in your shot, you can create one. For example, if you’re taking a picture of a kitchen, you might use the counter as a horizon line.
Keep it Simple
There may be a lot of elements you want to include in a single image. However, filling the frame with too many elements can muddle it. You’re often better off focusing on a single key subject, with only a few other elements in the frame to add depth.
Just remember these are merely basic photography composition tips to help you improve your skills. They aren’t rules that universally apply in all situations.