A Photography Education for Everyone
Having your photos taken professionally once or twice a year is great, but there are so many moments to capture in between and you don’t need a fancy camera to do so. I will share tricks and techniques I have learnt over the years and hopefully I can help you feel more confident when you pull out your phone or camera. I will go through a variety of photography related topics, but please comment with any specific question or subject you would like me to cover.
So let’s get started with composition. There is a lot that goes into composing a high quality image. I will actually divide this topic into a few different points, starting by the very fancy RULE OF THIRDS. This is probably the simplest and easiest rule to apply. That alone will make your photos look so much better.
How to use the rule of thirds to compose a high quality image
You have probably seen a lot of photos with the subject (person) right in the middle. It works, but it might not create a totally visually appealing image – (unless you find perfect symmetry, then it can actually look stunning).
Pretend to draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the scene you are photographing. You can see on this photo how it divides it into three vertical and three horizontal sections. It looks best when you place your horizon line, the place where the land or water meets the sky, on one of the horizontal lines and your subject where the lines cross each other. So instead of putting the people you are photographing exactly in the middle, shift your device to the left or right a bit and have them on one side of the image.
How to use guiding lines to compose a high quality image
You want the viewer’s eyes to move in a certain direction so that their focus lands on your subject and keeps going back to it. Using GUIDING LINES is a great way to do that. Place angled, curved or straight lines in an interesting perspective so that your eye has to follow them. A staircase, a fence, a line of trees, a path or a sidewalk for instance are great examples of things you can use.
How to use negative space to compose a high quality image
As a side note, I sometimes use the term “subject” and not people because many techniques I describe apply to portraits, but also pet, landscape and other types of photography. It could be a person, a dog, a waterfall or just about anything else you feel like photographing.
That being said, let’s talk about the use of NEGATIVE SPACE. What that means is don’t feel like you need to fill the whole frame (photo). You can place your subject in one area of the frame and have a good portion of the image stay more neutral, a portion of the photo where you are not trying to attract your viewer’s attention. It could be the sky, a wall, a plain building, a darker area, anything that doesn’t take the attention away from what you want us to look at. Having an image that is less busy might put more emphasis on what is truly important.
How to use framing to compose a high quality image
There are so many elements you can use to FRAME an image nicely. The easiest one to try when you start is using the leaves of a tree. If you place your subject on the other side of a beautiful tree, you can place your camera or phone really close to the leaves and branches until you find the best window to surround your subject. And you can do this with just about anything, I have done it with a bike frame in the past for a family who wanted their collectors edition bike included in their newborn session. I have also done it with an actual window frame when I did photos for The Front Steps Project. And in this case, the opening in the railing frames them perfectly.