Photo Composition Tips

In an earlier post, we explored elements that can take your photo’s from good to great. In this post, we’ll continue to uncover some elements of photo composition that will take your photography to the next level. A photo’s composition is one of the most important parts of an image and can impact how viewers see and engage with your image.

Here are some composition tips to improve your photography skills:   

Chinese Woman - Thierry Bornier - Traditional Chinese - Ethnic Minority

Use Negative Space

A frame does not have to be filled to have a big impact. Leaving blank space, or negative space, will open up new possibilities for photo interpretation. In some cases, it can emphasize a particular subject that is the primary focus of the shot. In other cases, it can be used to convey “implied movement” and leave open room for an object that appears to be moving within the frame.

Gods Palette - Thierry Bornier - Yunnan China

Fill the Frame

This concept is the opposite of the previous, negative space, composition. By filling a frame, you are eliminating and distractions or noise that maybe occurring in the background to focus directly on the subject of the image.

Rule of Odds

The rule ties into the rule of thirds, and is simple: try to include an odd number of elements into your photo. It is thought that images with an odd number of subjects are easier on the eye and easier for our minds to process, as compared to an even number that could be considered distracting since there is no “center of attention”. With odds, the view will be able to identify a clear “center”, or focal point, more easily. 

Land of mist Puzzle

View Point

Logically, view points have a huge impact on your photo. The same subject appears much different if shot from straight on, below or above. It is very common for photos to be taken at eye level, especially for those who are used to point-and-shoot methods. Try to add a fresh take on your next shot by changing view points. By changing the angle you’re viewing the subject, you can not only play around object sizing – you can also play around with mood and lighting.


Find Balance

This composition concept is often overlooked in favor of the “rule of thirds” however, it can be used in combination as a means to create harmony in the shot. Balancing a photograph is aligning the focal points of the image with other smaller elements in order to fill any forgotten space in the frame.

Pastorale Yellow Mountains

Golden Triangle

A golden triangle composition is similar to that of rule of thirds, however instead of rectangles it focuses on triangular segments. The primary “cut” is on a diagonal across the image then cut into further to create smaller triangle divisions, always following the rule that where the new divisions meet the primary diagonal must always for a 90 degree angle. Once the “grid” is formed, you are then able to distribute focal points of the frame accordingly.

These are just a few simple tips to help improve your photography practice. With any of our tips, we give them as a guide to help your grow, however don’t forget that a big part of photography is getting out there and taking the shots. Take these tips and mold them into what you need to capture your perfect shots.


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