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7 Beginner Photography Tips To Make Your Photos Look Great

Updated on June 20, 2012

When we take our pictures, we are interested in the narrative (the topic, the figures, their relations) without giving due importance to the composition of the image.

Take the perfect picture, it's not as easy as it seems. What matters in a good picture is the composition.

These beginner photography composition tips can be expressed as a set of tools. The key is to keep in mind that it's not necessary to use all the tools at the same time to obtain an excellent picture.

Composition can be thought of as the organization of the elements, and when it's well made will add great value to the picture.

Keeping in mind some key composition techniques will help us to improve the quality of our photographs.

Beginning Photography Tips
Beginning Photography Tips

Beginning Photography Tips

These techniques are a set of rules which will help us to distribute the objects in the space of the image.

A good distrubucion is the difference between a dynamic image or a static image.

Of course, these rules can be broken to create attractive effects.

Once you know them, you can "break them" into your favor.

The Rule Of Thirds

When taking pictures, we have the tendency to center the subject in the frame and to look for a total symmetry in the image.

This is usually a serious photographic error. Centering the subject in the image, we only get a static and boring composition.

The Rule Of Thirds
The Rule Of Thirds

The rule states that an image can be divided by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines.

The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align the the main subjects.

These four intersection points are called Power Points.

The Rule Of Thirds - Composition
The Rule Of Thirds - Composition

The main subject of the composition is located in one of the four Power Points (or near) or along a line, which gives a pleasant and balanced image.

The main subject (what we want to emphasize) is in this case the bird's head.

The Rule Of Thirds - One main subject
The Rule Of Thirds - One main subject
The Rule Of Thirds - One main subject
The Rule Of Thirds - One main subject

If exists a second main subject, this is located diagonally in the opposed side.

The Rule Of Thirds - Two main subjects
The Rule Of Thirds - Two main subjects

Rule Of Horizon

In the landscapes it's not recommended to place the horizon in the center of the image, to avoid the sensation that the image is divided in two equal parts.

When we want to give protagonism to the sky, because we have attractive clouds, we locate the horizon in the inferior third. If the sky lacks interest we locate the horizon in the superior third.

This rule is also applied when a line more or less horizontal divides the composition in two differentiated spaces.

Rule Of Horizon - The horizon forms a symmetry
Rule Of Horizon - The horizon forms a symmetry
Rule Of Horizon - The horizon enhances the protagonism of the sky
Rule Of Horizon - The horizon enhances the protagonism of the sky

Rule Of Sight

The main character of the picture should have free more space toward where he looks.

This gives the sensation that there is something to see beyond the picture.

Rule Of Sight
Rule Of Sight

Rule Of Movement

When we photograph mobile objects, it is very important that capture them entering the image, not leaving, with more space in the direction of the movement.

Rule Of Movement - Leaving the image
Rule Of Movement - Leaving the image
Rule Of Movement - Entering the image
Rule Of Movement - Entering the image

Vanishing Point

To obtain three-dimensional effect in our pictures we use Vanishing Points.

A Vanishing Point is the point at which parallel lines appear to converge in the distance when viewed obliquely.

The Vanishing Point can be located inside or outside of the composition.

Vanishing Point
Vanishing Point

Cropping People

If you are not going to include their entire body do not crop at a joint (elbow, knee, wrist), neither on the hands or feet.

The cut is made between joints, and the whole foot or hands should appear or not.

People Crop
People Crop

The cut is made above or under the breasts of a women, not in half.

Breasts Crop
Breasts Crop

Close-up crop in the forehead or between the chin and the forehead.

Close-Up Crop
Close-Up Crop

The Negative Space

In photograph the empty spaces are important, because they enhance the topic of the image.

This resource is used to transmit a sensation of isolation.

  • A leaf floating on the water of a pool

  • A flower on the sand

Negative Space
Negative Space

In essence the composition is the selection and placement of objects in the photographed area.

The force of a good image resides in the combination of a reason and a composition:

  • what is left outside of the image is as important as what is included.

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    Table Of Contents by

    Images by
        Roger Barker
        Dylan Walters
        Pedro Simões 
        Salvez Dodd
        Javier Volcán
        Mikhail Esteves


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    • colorcurve profile image

      Kiran Kumar 

      5 years ago from NewDelhi, India

      It's really necessary for us (beginners) to follow the basic rules of capturing a movement. Thanks for your simple and crisp guidelines. I would be looking forward for such useful posts. Have a great day :).

    • StefanMDP profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Audra.

      I'm glad that you like my Hub, especially being that you are a photographer.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A lot of great ideas and information!


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