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Photography and Design Composition: The Basics

Basic Rules of Design Composition and Photography

There are universal rules of design that the viewer will, on some level, respond to favorably if all the elements are in place.

Get the most out of your photos and create artwork you will be proud to hang on your walls.

Don’t forget about the basics. Whatever you are using to capture images, be sure your device has a charged battery and enough memory for additional files.

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Keep the Horizon Level

  • If possible, try to arrange your composition with odd numbers of objects, since this tends to be perceived as more balanced than even numbers.
  • Be sure to have a focal point that draws the viewer into your image.
  • Some of the most striking compositions will have the main subject off-center, not in the middle of the frame.

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Shoot at the Best Time of Day

Some of the best light is right before and after sunrise and sunset. You’ll get a softer, warmer light than in the middle of the day, and because the sun is low it will produce interesting shadows.

Keep it Simple

If possible, try to choose a simple background. You want your main subject to be the focal point, so remove any elements that don’t add to the composition.

Have Fun!

Try to shoot at least one picture a day, and use whatever you have with you, whether it’s a $3000 camera or a mobile device. Play with light and shadow. Try new subjects, perspectives and textures, and shoot away – you can always edit later.