Today’s digital cameras have so many buttons and functions that it’s easy to overlook some of the simple techniques that will take your photography to the next level. With just a few lessons learned on compositional techniques, you will be printing, framing, and earning money off your photos in no time.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Every time you take a picture, stop and ask yourself how you could change the viewpoint. Could you get low to the ground and shoot up? Could you move to the other side of your subject? Could you get closer, farther away?
Just moving around your subject and trying different options and positions can dramatically change the look and feel of any photograph. If you back up the subject gets smaller, move closer and it takes up more of the frame.
Don’t be afraid to try it all and shoot multiple pictures of any subject at different angles! It’s always better to have multiple options when you get the photos off the card and onto your camera. You can’t always go back and try something again.
Move in close to your subjects and try to fill the frame with as much information about that subject as you can. Don’t be afraid to crop a portrait at the person’s forehead to fill the frame with their face. When shooting a still life, consider leaving out part of the subject in order to fill the frame with the rest, leaving the viewer to complete the photograph in their mind.
Sometimes a photograph with very little of a subject can tell the largest story. Too much information, background, or environment can be distracting and confusing. Concentrate on what it is that you are really trying to show in your photographs and then fill the frame with it!
Don’t be afraid to push your creativity and crop things in the frame!
Have you ever gone back through your photographs, looked at a portrait, and realized that there was a telephone pole sticking out of the top of someone’s head? Paying specific attention to the background of your photograph when you click that shutter is one small detail that makes a huge impression.
Get into the habit of slowing down enough while shooting to scan the entire frame and making a conscious decision about your entire photograph, not just the subject.
A great way to add depth and visual impact to a photograph is with a technique called framing. Framing is composing your image so that the subject is framed by another element within the picture.
Imagine photographing a girl in a garden, but through the window of a house. Or the back lit silhouette of a farmer in the doorway of a barn. These are both examples of framing up the subject and a great way to isolate the subject of the photo to draw in the viewer’s attention to the photograph.
There are many more compositional elements found in photography than simply these four. Taking the time to think about the photograph before you take it enhances your awareness of your environment and the possibilities around you.
But remember, as soon as you think that you know all the rules, its time for the most important rule of all. Learn the rules to break the rules and then you begin having all of the fun.
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