11 Tips to Composing Beautiful Photographs

If you struggle with composing an image. This list of compositional elements will be of use.  It is a good guide to get you started, but keep in mind rules are meant to broken.

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”

-Ansel Adams

portraits by karen haberbergFind a Clear Center of Interest Find something that captures you eye. Try to avoid distracting objects or shadows.

Fill the Frame Robert Capa, a WWII photojournalist said it best, when he said, “If you’re pictures are not good enough, they you’re probably not close enough.” Get the subject into the frame so there is no doubt what the photo is all about.

Present a Clear Message Try to avoid anything that would distract people from your main subject. Focus on the subject. Then before you press the shutter, check the edges of the frame for anything that would distract the viewer.

Compose Boldly Have fun with your subject. Look for repetition or patterns. Keep your eye out for diagonals which are always interesting. Scan for contrasting colors and shapes.

Create Depth Use the aperture to create depth. Make objects in front and behind your subject a little out of focus. This will provide the effect that isolates the subject from the background. Focuses attention on the subject.

Light and Dark Basically light tones advance, while dark tones retreat. Most people look at the lighter portions of a photograph first.

Shapes Diagonal images tend to be more visually interesting that vertical and horizontal.

Framing This is the use of elements in the foreground to frame the object in focus. This is the basics of composition. I’ll try to devote some more time to describing each one of the compositional elements in more detail.

Lines Vertical lines emphasize power, strength, and height.
Horizontal lines express stability and width.
Diagonal lines express dynamic energy.
Curving lines express sensuality.

Rule of thirds –Simply the rule of thirds states that object of attention should be placed at the intersection of the dividing lines. (Green dots) But you can also place the object along one of dividing line

Balance –Achieving good balance in your photographs requires the correct combination of colors, shapes, and areas of light and dark, that compliment one another.

Perspective –  Perspective refers to the appearance of depth or spatial relationships between objects in an image.

For additional information on Karen Haberberg Photography or compositional elements, visit www.karenhaberberg.com or Compositional Elements.