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Photography Chronicles: 5 Ways to Capture the Perfect Composition

Charlene is a passionate photographer who loves occasionally sharing experiences of her photographic journey.

Composition is key to a great shot

Composition is key to a great shot

Introduction

Anyone can take a picture because all you have to do is just point and shoot, right? Being a photographer is so easy, all you do is click on your camera all day, isn't that so? Well, if you think that then you should probably keep those little nuggets to yourself because if a photographer heard you even mutter something like that in their presence then be prepared to be clobbered on the head…with a camera.

Look, taking a great picture is not just about putting your camera on auto function and clicking while hoping for the best, it is not that simple. Sure Auto is fine if you want pictures that you plan on keeping under the bed but if you want your pictures to pop then you need to learn more about photography. So what makes a great picture? In truth, there are many factors however the one we will touch on today will be composition.


'There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.' - Bryan Peterson

'There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.' - Bryan Peterson

What is Composition?

Photography composition is the way elements are arranged or used in a photograph and this means specifically how these elements relate to each other in your image. Basically, how you choose to express your image will be how you compose the shot.

5 ideas to consider for your composition would be:

  • Simplify your image
  • Lead the eye
  • Create synergy with color
  • Use lines, shapes etc. for drama
  • Use a frame within a frame

Remember: 'There is no better time to crop a bad composition than just before you press the shutter release.' - Bryan Peterson


Explore different ways of composition

Explore different ways of composition

Nothing beats synergy in a picture

Nothing beats synergy in a picture

Simplify and Lead the eye

Photography is a form of art. A painter will stand in front of a blank canvas and be inspired with a bold stroke of a brush to add colour as well as form. However a photographer has to judge what belongs in the frame before being inspired to snap a picture. The fundamental key to great composition is to simplify the image i.e. Keep the subject front and centre while excluding all distracting extras within the frame.

Another trick is to approach a potential shot with a discerning eye by identifying which objects may lead your eye or which components sort of complement each other in colour or size. Sometimes similar colours in a shot create synergy and balance however bold colours offer a shot more depth or oomph.


Simplify your image

Simplify your image

Lead the eye

Lead the eye

Use lines and frame

Create instant drama by looking for lines and shapes like diagonals, triangles, curves, circles to showcase your subjects adding panache to your picture. Use lines to excite the eye, force the audience to take another look instead of just inducing a yawn. When using symmetry in some ways in a shot, this also works its way to pleasing the mind’s eye by translating into a harmoniously poised image.

Another fabulous composition technique is finding a frame within your frame. Try finding an attractive stony arch by a velvety emerald-blue lagoon and use it to create a stunning visual enhanced by its own natural rocky frame. Or position yourself strategically to capture a magnificent fuchsia and crimson sunset through your car rectangle rear-view mirror. This trick adds gravity and intensity to your focal point.


Use lines and a shallow depth of field

Use lines and a shallow depth of field

frame within a frame

frame within a frame

Conclusion

When you have your camera in hand, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to making your picture stand out even if that means doing the camera-sutra (Oh behave!). All that means is you got to be willing to be a contortionist to get those great details and create the right mood. Sometimes that calls for you to lie down on the floor, climb a ladder, kneel, bend and twist if need be.

Photography is complex; make no mistake, however learning how to compose a shot goes a long way to taking an ordinary picture and making it compel enough to make you take a closer look.

Pictures source: Charlie's Photography (they were all taken by me.)

P.S here is the link to Photography Chronicles: 5 Types and Ways of Using Natural Light for Beginners


Bend the knee and take the shot

Bend the knee and take the shot

© 2020 Charlene Gallant

Comments

Charlene Gallant (author) from Cape Town, South Africa on August 27, 2020:

Thank you

Hannahberry1 on August 27, 2020:

Great to see the article. The post is very informative and I appreciate it.

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Abby Slutsky from America on August 21, 2020:

Your welcome. Good luck. I hope it helps.

Charlene Gallant (author) from Cape Town, South Africa on August 21, 2020:

Thank you Abby for the good advice:)

Abby Slutsky from America on August 21, 2020:

I don't think all your paragraphs pertain to the title. (For example, I am not sure the evolution of the camera pertains to capturing the right composition.) You do not have the right format for your subtitles, Use https://capitalizemytitle.com/ if you are not sure how to get the APA format HubPages prefers. I would make a list of the steps related to composition, and then go through them one by one by listing each one in a subtitle and explaining it fully. I would do an intro telling the reader why good composition is important. Write to the reader who knows nothing about photography. The others may have more suggestions, but I hope this helps. Good luck.