Leading LinesCredit: Raymond E

Photo composition is something that you can easily learn.  When it is applied properly good composition technique will help you to become a better photographer.   By following these simple guidelines your photographic skills will improve.  Photographs that are more pleasing to your eyes are the ones that will be viewed over and over again.  

Leading Lines Make A Difference

Leading lines are a disposition tool that is underutilized and by learning to incorporate this procedure it will really make the quality of your photographs better.  My picture above is an example of this technique. Using this idea makes your eyes move toward the spot that represents the theme in the photo.  If you start at the bottom of the frame you will automatically follow the road or curb to the subject matter.  The building is the topic of this photo so leading lines work for this image.  Many natural items exist that you can use to implement this practice into your pictures.  Anything that creates a natural column leading your eyes to the topic will work as a leading line.  Shorelines and tree lines are two other examples of natural items that you can use.  Think of some ideas to incorporate leading lines into your photographs and I am sure you will be pleased with the results.  

Use A Simple Background That Focuses The Viewers Attention To Your Subject

I cannot begin telling you how many times that what I thought was a good photograph turned out to be a flop.  Not paying attention to the background items have ruined many pictures for me.  Backgrounds that add clutter to the image distract from the subject is one thing you want to avoid.  Trees that look like they are growing from the subject's head and birds appearing to be flying from the subject's ear are two other things you want to avoid.  These are examples of some mistakes that I have made.  One way to avoid these common mistakes is by changing your camera angle.  This will usually result in getting a much simpler background in your photograph.  Another way to keep your background pleasing is to physically remove all the clutter i.e. children's toys, folding chairs, etc.   In many of my pictures of fish I have to remember to make a simple background.  This is done by removing a fishing rod or other hodgepodge that would be a distraction to my subject.  I will admit that it takes practice to pay attention to your background.  But if the consideration is more on a simple backdrop your photos will become better in time.  Below is an illustration of how to use a simple setting: in this case the grass.  Using a simple setting is done to help focus all the attention on your subject without having distractions..  


CrappieCredit: Raymond E

The image below is an example of what not to do with your setting.  As I mentioned earlier a tree growing from your subjects head just isn't very pleasing to view.  This photo really proves my point about camera angle changing backdrops.  If I would have moved to the right about 3 feet or knelt down to change the camera angle, the blue sky would have been the background.  I know that things like this can be fixed in photo shop but that takes a special talent beyond my scope.


Izzy with his bassCredit: Raymond E

Fill Your Frame With The Subject

Less of the background is seen when the subject fills the entire frame.  Another plus with filling the frame is that you are keeping more pixels in your image which is critical if you want to enlarge the photo.  Photographs with few pixels are of poor quality and tend to look "grainy" compared to those with more pixels.   The poorer quality is due to more space between each pixel.

A Few More Ideas

A technique that is not emphasized enough is practice so take lots of pictures.  Picture taking is so much more affordable now with digital photography than it was in the past using film. When film was used you almost had to be independently wealthy to take many images but now photos cost very little to produce.  Take lots of photographs while you practice different techniques with each photo.  Everything is instant today and you can see your results immediately after taking the photograph.  If you decide that a picture looks bad just delete it and it's gone forever.  Then take a few more photos and you will eventually get a good one. Different techniques will become second nature to you because of the repetition.

Do not always use the automatic mode of your camera because by using the manual mode different results will be achieved.  Experiment by using your flash on bright sunny days which does sound peculiar but by doing this it will reduce the shadows in your pictures.  The terminology for this technique is fill flash.  The auxiliary lighting will also make up for having the subject back lit which happens when you hurry to take the image.

This has been mentioned in a previous article of mine but it has merit and is worth repeating again.  Read the instruction manual for your camera often.  This small tip will make your pictures improve immediately.  Your camera is an extension of you so try to learn and understand what all those symbols mean on your camera.  Learn how to use the self timer then you can take those group shots:, the ones that include you in the picture.  

These tips and techniques will improve your images only if they are utilized.  It is up to you to give these techniques a try and your photography will improve over time.  Do not be discouraged just be creative and always remember to take lots of pictures.  It is much easier to delete 100 bad photos to get 1 or 2 good ones than it is to take 20 images and not have a single one to keep. 

Learn different techniques and apply them to your photos.  Be creative and think outside the box at times.  The most important thing to remember is have fun with your photography.