Any photo you take can be improved with just a little thought about the composition. Getting better at composition is something you can do at any point in your learning. That’s why if you’re shooting photos in auto mode, then learning these composition tips is going to be a quick win. You will point and shoot better, this will increase your confidence and then you’ll feel able to go on and learn even more photography skills.
Universal composition tips
It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you are using – phone, DSLR, a go pro or an antique. The simplest composition tips apply to every one.
I’ve already written extensively on composition tips in the 30 part blog series “Judging a Photograph” and it’s got a mention in most of my other photography blog posts too. Here are a five selected highlights which are the easiest ones to pick up for your auto mode photography. The full blog posts are linked in each bullet point.
1. Shoot from an interesting angle
In the first blog of this series on photography on auto mode I talked about holding the camera level and low down. You can get a more interesting angle by going unusually low, or even perhaps go high. Try something unexpected.
2. Stand back and zoom in
In the previous blog in this series I talked about one of my favourite composition tips. Get a more interesting perspective by using optical zoom.
3. The rule of thirds
Use the rule of thirds to highlight strong lines and points of interest. Line up your horizons, or your tree trunks, or your subject’s eyes one third of the way across the picture.
4. Leading lines
Use leading lines to draw the eye strongly into the image. This works best on a diagonal from a corner. If there’s no obvious line you could make a feature of something else in the foreground.
5. Think about the whole frame
Make the whole frame interesting by trying to fill it. Or position something at the edge of your photo or around it like a picture frame, to make a hard edge. Perhaps use a wall or a tree.
Once you’ve got your shot composed, don’t click the shutter just yet. First remember to get a sharp focus on your main subject. Remember my tips from part 2 of this series about using focus points.
You can break any composition rule at any time if you’re confident that you can see some better way of shooting your photo. For example as Instagram has mainly square photos, it is often the case that you can abandon the rule of thirds and put your subject in the middle.
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Which is your favourite composition tip? Let me know in the comments.