Composition

Rule of thirds - photo by flickr user annamorphic

Composing your photo is indisputably the most essential aspect of taking quality shots.

Many photographers, including myself in the past, didn’t/don’t ask the right kinds of questions before pressing down on the shutter release button.  For example, what are you trying to convey with this particular image or what/who is your main subject?  Are you trying to emphasize light, shape, color, form, texture or something different altogether?

Personally, one of the best ways I’ve found to improve my own photos is to ask more of these kinds of questions by pre-visualizing before I actually take the shot.  Apparently, the most common mistake for beginning photographers is to generally place their main subject in the center region of most of their photos somewhat oblivious to what is going on in the background.  For example, taking a photo of a person standing behind a tree where it appears as if it’s actually growing out of his/her head!  It’s an extreme example, but if you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in both the foreground & background it’s an undesirable outcome that becomes far too prevalent.

A simple way around this is to consider the rule of thirds – essentially the intersecting points of dividing your picture with imaginary lines intersecting both vertically and horizontally like an imaginary ticktacktoe configuration placed directly on top of your photo.

Artists have known for centuries that placing your subject in the center of the composition is far less pleasing to the eye than having it at one of these points.  As a travel photography tip, simplifying your travel photography can’t be underestimated.  Far too many photos are disorganized with too many distracting elements devoid of a clear subject manner or central theme.

By eliminating clutter in your photos by moving closer physically or zooming in with your lens you can eliminate distracting elements in your photos for far more pleasing compositions.

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