There are several constituents to a great photograph – there is of course the subject, but there are also other features such as the lighting, the angle, and the composition of the picture that go into making it a good or a bad one. Let us speak about the basics of composing a shot today. Though a lot of what goes into composing a picture is instinctive, and is all about what looks right to you, there are some pointers that you can use:
Get the whole picture
When you are taking a picture think of it as telling a story and make sure the story is complete. If it is the picture of a face, make sure you include the entire face and not cut out any bits. If it’s a house, make sure the whole subject fits into the frame, unless of course you want to take a picture of that little bit of the roof that bird has alighted on.
Check the Balance
While you want to fit the entire object into the frame, also check the amount of negative space around it. For instance if you photograph a boat, you want to be able to see the details of the sail, the person on the boat and so on. This is of course unless it is the spectacular sunset that you want to capture which happens to form a backdrop to that boat.
On the other hand if it a baby’s interesting expression you want to capture, you cannot go wrong filling up the frame with the face. Here the background is irrelevant and the closer the baby’s face the more impact the picture will have. So balance your photo to have optimum amounts of negative space depending upon what you want to convey through the picture.
Look for symmetry
Not only should the view be straight and not lopsided (consider using a tripod if you continually find that your photos are askew), you should also have symmetry in your picture. If it is a landscape consisting of the sky and perhaps some mountains, there should be symmetry between the sky’s backdrop as the background and the mountains as the foreground. If it’s a house the different features such as windows, doors and so on should be symmetrical as well.
The Rule of thirds
We shall speak of this at length in future posts, but suffice it to say that the rule of thirds which divides a possible shot into 3 vertical and 3 horizontal segments to get the greatest shot is an important one for photography.