Byron Neslen Southwest Fine Art Photography


Photo Tip 2: Composition

There are many different ways to compose a photo. There are several different rules but these can be broken. They are more like guidelines to follow when you are out composing an image than rules. The first set of rule is the rule of thirds. Many people will place the horizon line in the middle of the image. You should place your horizon line either in the bottom third or top two thirds but not in the middle. This also applies to your subject. The subject should not be placed right dead center of your image. The rule of thirds also applies vertically.

Many people when shooting a picture of someone will compose the shot horizontally instead of vertically. People are vertical and should be shot that way unless you have group of people. Learn to turn the camera vertically if your main subject is upright like trees or a tall building. If it is a landscape then shoot the image horizontally. If the main subject is vertical shoot it that way. If you question whether it should be shot either way then take the time to shot one horizontal and another vertical. I sometimes find I like both images for different reasons. Other times you will see one image you prefer but if in doubt shoot it both ways.

When you are shooting try to compose the image using the full fame. Don't do your cropping after you shoot the image. You are losing quality. Very rarely should you crop after the image is shot. Take the time to move in or further out to compose it correctly. Try to also have leading lines in your photo. Another trick is to fame the subject such as using a overhanging branch for the top of the image. sometimes you will be able to fame all around your subject. When shooting people make sure you don't have telephone poles or trees coming out of their heads. Pay attention to the background. An S curve is always nice to place in your images. Another trick is to have a vanishing point in the image. Pay attention to the bright areas of your image. They should never be on the edge of your image. Your eye will go the brightest subject first in a photograph so make sure that it is not on the edge. One last tip; use the right lens for your subject. Don't use a wide angle lens to shoot a bear unless you want a very small bear in your image or to be eaten. If shooting wildlife use a telephoto lens, for portraits use a 85mm to 135mm lens and for interior or grand landscapes use a wide angle lens. Using the right lens for your subject will make a big difference in your photographs.

The next page is going to be a slideshow of images. I would recommend that you take control of the slideshow and go at your own pace. Use the arrows either side of the thumbnails to proceed through the images. Please mouse over the image and a caption will come up about that image for you to read. This is also true of the regular gallery pages in the rest of the website. You can go to the photo tips light gallery by the link below or by mousing over the image above. It will rollover and you can click the image to take you to that gallery. Most non gallery images on this website are rollover image links.