For beginners who are just starting their way in the world of photography, all the advice, even basic ones, is useful, since for an unprepared person such advice is not always an unobvious truth. If a person is looking for simple ways to improve their pictures, then Simon Takk’s opinion is worth listening to (© Simon Takk). He is a professional photographer and founder of phototechniques.info, a portal that helps neophytes see new and exciting perspectives. He has provided some tips for the basics of composing your shots.
Tip # 1 – avoid centering your subject in the frame
Shooting objects so they don’t end up in the center of the composition is what photography books call the “rule of thirds.” This is great basic advice – it is worth practicing so that people, animals, or something interesting is not located in the “dead” center point, but slightly to the right / left or above/below it. This is especially true for portraits and the main detail on them – the eyes. Soul mirrors should not be in the very center of the photo, you need to move the camera or model.
Tip # 2 – guide the viewer’s eye with lines in your shot
It is worth looking closely and you will notice that lines are everywhere. You need to train your eyes and then you will be able to reveal your potential for creating dynamic and vivid images. The lines formed by the natural outlines of objects in the frame can be used in many ways, but the easiest way is to start from the main subject.
It is enough to carefully consider how the vertical and horizontal lines are located and move, rotate until they begin to indicate the key point in the composition. This can be tricky: for example, if the subject is against a wall, you cannot shoot directly in front of it, this will reduce the depth in the image.
Using the lines of the vertical surface, you can make them “point” to the main element of the composition, making it more expressive.
Tip # 3 – use the horizon
Horizontal lines create a sense of calm and relaxation – think of the summer sunset over the vast field of grass, and you will understand what Simon means. If there are a lot of “flat” lines and few expressive verticals in the frame, the picture will come out calm and peaceful. This technique is used if you need to make the photo more relaxed, to reduce tension. To achieve this effect, you need to look around and compare the number of contours and verticals. If the latter prevails, it is worth changing the position.
Even if there are many verticals in the frame, a strong lateral line (such as the horizon) “outweighs” it, making the photo calmer. A striking example is a forest with thousands of vertical tree lines. The horizon connects them, it dominates and reduces the expressive saturation of the entire scene.
Tip # 4 – Remember Vertical Lines
The opposite position is to saturate the picture with dynamics using verticals. The same forest landscape can be filmed differently: instead of covering a wide panorama with the horizon, you can stand next to a separate tree. It will be the dominant, large vertical line and will help completely change the feel of the picture
This principle works effectively when shooting skyscrapers. If several buildings together with the horizon line are combined into a softened composition, then increasing the vertical multiplies its influence, it will work as an explosion. To achieve the effect, you need to come close to the skyscrapers and shoot individual buildings from below.
Tip # 5 – use white space
Space is a very scenic, beautiful, and effective technique that is often used in photography. People who are unfamiliar with the basic principles of shooting often tend to fill an entire scene with objects. This leads to the fact that the image becomes unnecessarily cluttered and not very good. Don’t be afraid of the white space around the key subject in the frame – use it as a powerful visual tool.
Tip # 6 – Isolation Principle
A method similar to the previous one consists of highlighting one object, isolating it, and concentrating the viewer’s attention only on it. Most people who shoot “just like that” shoot everything that fits in the frame without thinking about the individual elements. Try to move one step forward: select one object or theme and isolate it from the surrounding objects – move closer, change your position, decrease the depth of field.
The background mustn’t be cluttered; there should be more space on it. This can be blue skies (it comes out well when shot from below) or monochrome surfaces.
Tip # 7 – shooting at sunset and sunrise
One of the most useful basic tips for improving image quality is to photograph at sunset and sunrise. Until you have “gained” the base and experience, this trick will be your magic lifeline. When the sun is low on the horizon, the street light is clear and the sky shimmers with pleasing hues and shines. At sunset and sunrise, it’s more difficult not to capture a beautiful landscape than vice versa.