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5 simple photography composition guidelines for beginners

Nailing the focus and exposure is one part of digital photography, other is how to compose your images creatively. Everyone has their own way of seeing things through a digital camera, but what makes a photo interesting? Either it is telling some sort of story or has a compelling composition. In simple words, the composition is how a photographer places the subject or visual elements before pressing the shutter. 
In this post, we will see 5 composition guidelines that are easy to understand as a beginner. There are a lot of other techniques to compose a shot, but we can focus on the 5 described in this post for now. It is interesting to note that these are just guidelines, not hard rules. Word "rule" puts too much pressure and takes away the fun part of digital photography. Without much delay, let's discuss all 5 one by one with examples. 

1) Rule of thirds.
Also known as the simple version of the golden ratio, this guideline states to divide your scene into 3 equal columns and rows. Place the subject or point of attraction on the intersection points. Check your DSLR manual to turn on grid view when taking images, it helps a lot in the beginning. 

composition using rule of thirds
Rule of thirds

2) Patterns
One of my personal favourites. This guideline refers to capturing any structure or design which is repetitive in nature. Could be stairs, railings, etc. Another way to look at this is to capture interesting changes in the pattern of a wall, geometrical object, etc. This pattern change could be a change in colour, tones, texture, etc. 

Composition tips beginners
Pattern-based composition

3) Leading lines
The image should lead the viewer's eye to either convergence or to a certain spot in the photo. Most simple example of leading lines is long exposure shot of nighttime vehicles. Leading lines can be used in portrait photography too.

composition using leading lines technique
Leading the way 

4) Colour Contrast
Notice a coloured object that stands out from its surrounding area? Capture it. Collection of different coloured objects in a group? Capture it. The image below shows a street lamp in Chinatown, the colour piqued my interest to take a photo of it. 

Photography composition tips
Lamp shot, colour based composition
5) Foreground, middle ground, and background.
Often used in landscape photography, this guideline refers to dividing the photo into three parts. The area closest to the camera is foreground, middle base middle ground and the furthest one being background. Having something for the eye to see in the foreground adds interest and depth to the image.

Ocean in middle ground
Foreground,. middle and background style composition
Hope this post offered you some inspiration to go shoot more and improve your images. Remember, guidelines not rules. Share the photography love by sharing this post. :) 


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