Weekly Photography Tip 2 | Compose Carefully

Weekly Photography Tip 2


Compose With Care


I chose the below image as an example for this quick photography tip because the set up for it could have easily led to one of the most common (and easily avoided) mistakes.  In this photo you can see we have quite a few elements in the background.  There are two cranes, a bridge, and a block of flats.  If someone wasn’t paying attention and just took a quick, not thought out snap, you could have easily wound up with a crane coming out of our model’s head or the bridge coming out of the side of his head.  These are some of the most common issues that lead to bad photography.  Poles, wires, or buildings coming out of the top of people’s heads.  Horizons, tree branches, and other horizontal lines running through people’s heads.  Before pressing the shutter, have a quick look around your composition for some of these issues.


Use The Background To Your Advantage


If you take care before you press the shutter button, you can also use the background to your advantage.  In the above image, you can see that I have used the bridge and the block of flats to create leading lines to our subject.  With the exception of the cranes, everything in the photo leads your eye to the subject of the photo.


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You can see in the image above that again, great care was taken when framing the shot to avoid any background “objects” from intersecting with our subject.  We don’t have part of the wall coming out of his head, or the top of the tunnel going through his head either.   I also placed him in a position that when I framed the shot, the road and the tunnel all converge on our subject.  Again, leading your eyes to the subject of the image.

Take One Extra Second Before Pressing The Shutter


This is one of the simplest things you can do, that will instantly make your photography better.  When you frame your shot and are looking through the viewfinder, take one extra second to scan your eyes around what you see.  Look to make sure you aren’t cropping through someone’s head or their limbs.  Make sure there aren’t any background objects intersecting with your subject in an area that is unsettling (on a person or animal this would be their head, on stationary objects it would be what you consider to be the focus of the object).  Just taking this extra second will force you to think about your composition a little bit more and will most certainly improve your compositions.  Remember to think about leading lines (areas of the image that will lead the eye TO (not away from) your subject.  Also try to remember the rule of thirds!!


Please post your thoughts and questions below, and feel free to share your images as well.