Want to take better photos? Composition is key!

Article by Ben Fewtrell HDR is a great way to process an image, but it won’t fix a badly taken photo, there are some rules to capturing an image that is appealing to the eye, and whilst we’re talking rules, I would say the only rule in photography is that there are no rules! Instead, for the purpose of this article, we’ll call them guidelines, suggestions and ideas. I wanted to make this more interactive, after each of the ideas there is some homefun for you to do. Rather than just read this, I want you to get your camera out and use things around you right now to create an image using the suggested idea. I challenge you to think outside of the box and stretch your comfort zone. For me, this is the way that I find I have developed my skills. Yes… I am serious… go and get your camera now… I won’t go on until you do! 1.  Lets start with the well known ‘Rule of Thirds’ This is one of those basic but powerful composition tips. Divide your image into 9 sections by using 2 lines in each direction (horizontal and vertical) evenly spaced. You will end up with 4 intersections. It is important to place your subject, or an important part of the subject on one of the intersections. The temptation is to put your subject dead in the middle, but this isn’t as appealing as having your subject off to one side. Some cameras have the option to overlay this ‘Grid’ in your preview, I suggest you turn it on until it becomes second nature. Homefun: Grab an item, pet party bouncy castle or family member and try it out. Take a photo with your subject in the middle and another using the intersections of the ‘Grid’ as a guide 2.  Patterns and shapes Look for interesting patterns and shapes, sometimes zooming in or out will really enhance what you see and create a compelling pattern. Creating a pattern from something that is not normally a pattern will really make you uber cool… so try it out! Homefun: Head to the cutlery drawer, grab 4 forks and see what you can create using Patterns 3.  Foreground One of the challenges with Photography is that it is two dimensional. To bring perspective, depth and that feeling of being right there, make sure you have something interesting in your foreground. It will bring perspective to your shot and introduce the third dimension. Homefun: Try and recreate a landscape on your kitchen table, use fruit, vegetables and anything else you can find, introduce depth into your image by placing some thing close to your lens. 4.  Leading Lines Using lines you can lead the viewers eye into the image. A leading line can be great to draw the viewers eye right to the point of interest. Sometimes you can use leading lines to direct the viewer through your image. Homefun: Head outside and take a photo of your house, use your path, fence or driveway as a leading line. 5.  Light It is no secret that light is an important part of any image, it is the relationship and contrast between light and dark that will make an image come to life. The viewers eye will be drawn to the lightest part of the image first. Try to avoid times of the day when the light is harsh, Sunrise and Sunset is always nice… although, a cloudy day can be great too! Homefun: Grab someone or something and head to the closest window that has a nice soft light, you may want to use an opaque sheet to diffuse the light and grab a photo using the light from the window… be creative and learn how to use the available light to your advantage. 6.  Framing Sometimes you can create a frame using natures or man made objects to make your subject stand out. Homefun: Time to find a ‘frame’ in your current surroundings, it could be a doorway, a tree or even if you have an old picture frame, have some fun with it, frame your subject and snap away. 7.  Try Landscape and Portrait Every time I take a shot, I will try both Landscape and Portrait orientation. Sometimes it is surprising how a frame will work in the opposite orientation to what you first thought… switch it up! Homefun: Time to work out your right angles, find something and shoot it landscape, make a ninja move… and shoot it portrait… check em out. What worked better? There you go! Seven ideas you can use to improve the composition of your photos…

Spend a week with Ben in Photographers Paradise – http://onthreelegs.com/7-day-lord-howe-island-experience Ben Fewtrell is based in Sydney, Australia and has been a keen photographer since the 1990’s. He fell in love with HDR in early 2012 and now processes 95% of his images this way. His main interest is landscape photography and most mornings you will find Ben with his Nikon D800 on the coast of Sydney waiting for the sun to rise… you can find him at www.facebook.com/on3legs or follow his blog www.on3legs.com Ben also has a free HDR ebook available: http://onthreelegs.com/learn/free-ebooks/