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Twelve Digital Photography CompositionTips

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Many people take photos with a person's face in the middle of the shot or the horizon at the vertical center, then wonder why their photos look amateurish. This can be overcome simply by learning various composition strategies. Composition is a way of arranging the elements of a photo to certain specifications. This article displays a list of twelve composition ideas for digital photos with a sample illustrations of each. The images were captured in a local cemetery, proving that the setting does not limit the composition. Rather, setting up a photo usually takes ingenuity from the photographer. Choose the subject wisely, but also bear in mind color, lighting, and placement of framing objects. All these tips will culminate in a much more professional shot.

Image Texture in Composition
Image Texture in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Image Texture in Composition

This image illustrates use of texture to make an image come to life.  The textures should conflict if possible, or demonstrate a sense of dimension.

Image Lines in Composition
Image Lines in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Image Lines in Composition

This image illustrates using a line of objects or aspects in a photo.  Choosing items at an angle helps to bring out perspective in the image and makes it seem more real, as if the viewer is actually present.

Photo Unity in Composition
Photo Unity in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Photo Unity in Composition

The unity concept of a photo's composition is finding a particular pattern and emphasizing its characteristics.  This is greatly illustrated in various tree branches as they scraggly reach for the sky.

Off-center Focal Point in Composition
Off-center Focal Point in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Off-center Focal Point in Composition

To off-center the focal point in a photo, focus on the main image by partially pressing the shutter release button.  Then slightly move the viewing window left or right until happy with the placement of the object.  

Center Focal Point in Composition
Center Focal Point in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Center Focal Point in Composition

The center focal point in composition places a subject directly in the center of the photo intentionally.  Typically the object has defined edges compared with its surrounding image, as illustrated with the sphere in the image.

Natural Framing in Composition
Natural Framing in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Natural Framing in Composition

Use tree branches, leaves, or a trunk to draw an observer's eye to a particular object.  The natural framing highlights a particular aspect of the image.

Rule of Three in Composition
Rule of Three in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Rule of Three in Composition

The rule of three in composing a photo is pretty self explanatory.  Simply include objects in sets of three.  The human mind naturally likes the balance and cohesiveness a group of three provides. 

Unnatural Framing in Composition
Unnatural Framing in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Unnatural Framing in Composition

When natural elements are not available to frame an aspect of a photo, using man made items also suffices.  This is the main idea of unnatural framing when composing an image.

Color Spectrum in Composition
Color Spectrum in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Color Spectrum in Composition

Including a large spectrum of color when composing a photo is visually eye-catching.  The color spectrum, in other words, utilizes color contrast to draw the reader's eye to the object of choice.  

Depth of Field in Composition
Depth of Field in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Depth of Field in Composition

The depth of field in composition provides a long distance view within the image. It draws the viewers eyes toward the horizon, making the scene feel three dimensional.

Dropped Horizon in Composition
Dropped Horizon in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Dropped Horizon in Composition

Instead of centering a horizon line along a vertical center, move the camera up or down enough to locate the horizon on a tic-tac-toe thirds line.  

Symmetry in Composition
Symmetry in Composition Kristen Wilkerson

Symmetry in Composition

Symmetry in composition utilizes lines of symmetry and balance.  It typically pairs up or spins an object around a point, providing a symmetrical balance.

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