10 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Compositions

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A good composition is critical to any successful photograph. Every photographer, from the world’s top pros to a novice with a smart phone, must make compositional decisions when taking a photo. Here is a list of quick ways to help improve your compositions.

1. Subject

Probably the single most important element of a photograph is the subject. A subject can take many forms, but ultimately it is what you want to show the viewer. A photo without a subject will lack interest and fail to convey anything of significance. While it may seem obvious to take a picture of “something”, I see many photographers taking photos without a clear subject. A person, place, or things are clear subjects, but a subject can also be more abstract like a mood or pattern. When taking a photograph, it is important to ask yourself what it is you are making this image of? If you can easily answer that question it is likely that you have a clear subject.

This acacia tree in this image becomes a clear subject due to its placement, the light, and the background. What drew me to this tree was the way that the dark storm clouds seemed to swirl above the scene. By placing the tree in the lower middle, I emphasize the tree while highlighting the impending storm above it.

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