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Change Your Composition for Better Pictures

Updated on September 8, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!

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Most photographers from amateurs to professionals often get settled into a routine and rarely leave their comfort zone. But every photographer can improve their photography and even improve their creativity by simply changing the way they compose shots.

One of the basic rules of photography composition is the rule of thirds:The rule of thirds is a "rule of thumb" or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs.The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. WIkipedia

By simply changing the rule of thirds and trying on purpose to break the rule you can start to see different possibilities in how you compose your shots.

There are many possibilities can occur when you try new things or rather try new ways of doing things and photography is no different.

For example we typically look at things on a page whether they're letters, numbers or photos from left to right. What is we were to change how we compose a shot to place the emphasis on the right side and force the eye to look at the right side first and proceed to "read" the image from right to left.

This can offer new possibilities not only of composing an image within a scene but of looking at other images as well.

One of the best compositional approaches that I personally like is to lead the eye towards a specific subject or point in the photo by using depth of field and using smaller elements in the scene as guideposts to the central point.

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Almost every single image features ome shapes and lines. Some you can actually see but others are not that readily visible.

Try composing your shots to include shapes and lines. Green fields of nothing but grass can represent a rectangle.

Sand dunes can stand for triangles. Man made things like buildings blocks are great for representing squares and rivers can stand in for lines.

Look for shapes and try to include them in your final compositions. Don't forget already made and readily available shapes like doors and windows.

Use odd numbers. We are often locked into capturing images of subjects that come in pairs or other even numbers. That is what makes us comfortable. Well try capturing images featuring odd numbers of subjects.

Instead of photographing four flower petals try three flower petals. Instead of recording an image of one or two animals together, make it an image that features three or five just so long as the number of visible subjects is an odd number.

This works really well when taking pictures of groups of people. Instead of posing them in standard formation with even numbers in the back and in the front, reverse the order and pose odd numbers in the back and in the front.

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Using negative space to enhance your main subject. Negative space is just a photographic jargon for blank space.

A shot that features a person walking along the beach may contain parts of the sky and this would be the negative space.

Negative space is usually used to draw attention to the main subject because it does not detract the eye form the main subject yets it allows you to tackle a regular magnification shot as opposed to shots that fill the entire photo with the subject like a close up of a model's face.

But negative space can also be used to add information about the scene. The shot of the person walking along the shoreline can tell the viewer how the weather was, and the time of day.

Framing the subject is an excellent way to focus all the attention to a subject. Natural frames or man made ones work really well because the not only draw the eye to the subject but usually keep it there.

Depending on the frame itself, like if it is a colorful window or door frame, they can also be used to enhance the overall photograph. Above all framing a subject causes the viewer to recognize immediately where to look.

For example silhouettes can be interesting and often intriguing but can also be "boring". By framing the subject it can often make these shots more interesting to look at.

Some naturally occurring frames can be trees, mountains,rocks, shadows and so on.

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When composing a shot try different angles, different perspectives. You may see that by changing the way you compose you may also increase your creativity.

In a world where almost everything has been photographed countless times being creative is often the key that separates you from the rest of your fellow shutterbugs.

Creativity is the most versatile arsenal at your disposal. It does not depends on what gear you have. You just need to think about the scene, move around and try different things or better yet, try new ways of looking at the same thing.

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© 2015 Luis E Gonzalez

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Miami, Florida

      teaches12345: Thank you very much

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 years ago

      Another wonderful article that will help photographers and writers improve their photo art.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Miami, Florida

      MarleneB; Thank you

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 years ago from USA

      Your tips are very helpful. I hadn't thought about breaking up a scene into such pre-determined components. Now, when I take photos, I think I will be more aware of how the subject fits into the frame and whether it is boring or adds interest to the photo.

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