Subtle changes in how you frame and compose the subject in your photograph can make a huge difference in the overall quality of your shot. During his Nature and Landscape Photography class, John Greengo offered up seven easy beginner photography tips for better framing — and better photos.
1. Fill the frame. “Most amateurs don’t get close enough and their subject is too small,” says John. By getting close to your subject — actually picking up your feet and putting your camera close to it, not just zooming — and letting it dominate the space, you get a more confident and captivating shot.
2. Only add supporting elements. Too many objects in one shot will clutter it. John advises you to “carefully add one element a time.” Be selective about exactly what is in your shot in order to you keep your most important subject in focus.
3. Avoid the middle. Though experienced shooters know the Rule of Thirds by heart, John says that “amateurs almost always put the subject directly in the center.” This common mistake fundamentally reduces overall visual interest; it doesn’t give the eye what it wants, so to speak. Shoot like a pro by dividing your frame and aligning your subject on an intersection of one of those lines. Shooting horizontally makes it a little easier to get your subject perfectly off-center.
4. Show the Best. Leave a little mystery in your shots. When you exclude elements, it leaves viewers wanting more and helps eliminate clutter. John reminds you that, “we don’t need to show everything in the photograph.”
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5. Simplicity. When in doubt, borrow from Coco Chanel and “take one thing off.” Pare your photos down to create a more nuanced look.
“Simplicity,” John reminds, “works very well in photographs.”
6. Solve the visual puzzle. When looking for a shot John encourages you to, “find an element that makes sense and flows together.” There is a whole world of options available for you – a good composition zeros in on scene that fits together and doesn’t include incongruous distractions.
7. Order out of chaos. Find patterns! Its a busy world and the human eye loves patterns. John encourages you to “try to find them and eliminate all the clutter – they’ll make very good pictures.”
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