8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

8 Tips to Better Your Photo Composition

1. Perspective

Shoot above, below, or get level. Change up your perspective while keeping horizons and verticals in check. Your camera is smaller now — take it places!

8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

2. The Rule of Thirds

Don’t always center your subject (boring!). Shoot with this rule in mind or crop during post processing.

  1. Start by turning on the grid lines in your camera.
  2. On your iOS phone go to: Settings, scroll down to Photos & Camera, and then turn the Grid slider on. Now your viewfinder is divided by two horizontal and two vertical lines.
  3. Center the subject at the grid intersections.
8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

3. Positive and Negative Space

Play with the sun, silhouettes and motion. Negative space creates mood and emotion. It can act as a context, or visual “weight”. Proper balance with negative space is essential, I would suggest using the rule of thirds to start. Read more about negative space here.

8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

4. Color

Make use of complimentary colors. Use color patterns and shapes to add compositional interest.

8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

5. Background Distractions

Poles and trees growing out of your subject’s head can ruin the shot. Too late? Check out 3 Mobile Apps to Remove Background Clutter. Move things and people and be patient.

Timing is key.

Your subject can’t see what’s happening behind him. Wait for the background to clear out before you shoot or move your subject to hide the background distractions. Read 5 Tips to Avoid Background Clutter.

6. Follow the direction of movement and sight

Photos are stationary, but your subject may have a direction of movement. Our eyes will follow the direction of their implicit movement. Leave more space in the direction towards which the subject is moving so that your eyes can follow it comfortably. (the empty/negative space should be where your subject is moving or looking)

8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

7. Curves and converging lines

Look up & down and find new angles. With the image below, the floating Lego’s create a pattern and converging line with the boy as the focal point using the rule of 3rds.

8 Tips to Better Photo Composition

8. Post Processing


We’d love to see what you’re shooting! Tag #persnicketyprints on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.