10 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Compositions

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2. Rule of thirds

If you have ever taken a class on photography, you have likely heard of the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is one of the quickest ways to get your photography on the right track. The method involves dividing the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally. These lines provide a basis of where to place points of interest and other lines within the frame. For example, a horizon works well when it is placed in on the upper third or lower third of a frame. While it is a good idea not to get too rigidly attached to thirds, this rule is a great starting place for setting up a composition.

The rule of thirds breaks down the frame into vertical and horizontal thirds. In this example you can see the grid and how I placed the focal point of the image, the birds eye, at the intersection of the lines. These intersections are a natural place for points of interest.

3. Lines

Lines can be one of the most powerful compositional tools available to a photographer. Vertical and horizontal lines can give your image a feeling of repetition and help enhance a pattern. Lines that come from the bottom of the frame into the top, also referred to as leading lines, can help draw the viewer into the shot and point to your subject. Since lines give your images a geometric feel, remember to keep them as straight as possible. Vertical and horizontal lines that are slightly askew will distract from the composition and ultimately hurt the photograph.

Lines are one of the best ways to draw your viewer in. This sand dune image has many different lines that all lead to the peak in the background. Some are more obvious than others, but as you can see in the example with red lines, this image is carefully composed with diagonal lines to lead the viewer through the dunes and ultimately have their eye land on the mountains.

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