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Taking Better Photos Day 2 - Composition

28 June 2011

Today’s lesson is seriously one of the fastest and easiest ways to completely change your photos.  It’s called composition.  Composition is just the way in which something is arranged in your picture.  From a photography standpoint, what you see on your LCD screen or through your camera is called a frame.  How you arrange what you see in your frame is your composition.
I am a complete design junkie.  Interior design and decorating are something I love.  In decorating, there is a secret to making things more appealing to the eye…groups of 3 (or odd numbers in general).  Well, in photography, there is something called the thirds principle.  Think of the below picture as our camera frame.  If you’re looking through your viewfinder (you know, the thing you put your eye up to in order to see into the camera) or your LCD screen, where is your subject placed?  If you’re taking a picture of a person, is the person’s face directly in the middle?  Is it off to the side a little?
The secret in composition is to not completely center your subject.  Put their face in the top third and look at the difference.  Place their nose on one of the intersecting lines. 

Here's another great tip. Get in close! Too much background takes the focus away from your subject. It can be distracting and most of the time isn't needed to tell a story with your photo. Of course, that depends on where you are. If you're taking pictures with a picturesque background, okay, I get it. If your taking pictures and there's a mess of laundry in the background or toys all the over the place, not so much.

Look at the difference between the pictures below.  Out of the next two pictures, which is more appealing to your eye?

Play with composition.  Don’t be afraid place your subject somewhere else in the frame.  It’s digital and you’re not wasting film; so if you decide you don’t like it, it’s no big deal. 

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