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Composition Beginner

Composition for the Beginner


Good composition has four main elements. The subject matter and its placement, the background, the lines that direct the viewer’s eye, and the lighting. These elements equally effect how a photograph is viewed.

Before you take a photograph ask yourself, why you are taking this picture, and what you are trying to achieve. Don’t be afraid to take as many different angles as time will allow. Place your subject in different areas in the photo. Try changing the angle to find what you think is the best and/or most dramatic lighting. As you look through your camera, look at the entire scene. So many photographers concentrate solely on the subject. Look all around the subject. Are there any elements of the background or lighting that will take your eye away from the subject when the picture is printed?


The best photographs are usually the most simple. The best way to create a simple photograph is to follow these simple steps:


  1. Keep the background as simple and as uncluttered as possible.
  2. Use the available lighting to create a dramatic effect on your subject.
  3. Fill the frame with the subject and move as close as possible.
  4. Move around your subject. Take several shots with different lighting and positioning.
  5. Are there lines in the background that you can use to lead the viewer’s eye to the subject?


Have fun with photography! Join a camera club! There is no better way to learn than from people who love the art!

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