Photography Tip: How to Bring Your Photos to the Next Level - The Basics of Composition and Framing || The Authentic Portrait

We’ve all done it. You see something - something beautiful. Maybe it’s your daughter laughing or an amazing sunset. You pull out your camera and click, satisfied in the knowledge that the moment is recorded forever. 

Until you see it later.

What happened? How did your amazing spectacular moment turn into this slightly tilted unfocused jumbled mess? Or, even if your focus is spot on and you didn’t accidentally stick your finger over the lens, somehow the photo is just plain boring. 

What you need to think about before pushing the shutter button is simple - composition.

The secret to good composition in photos is balance. It's so easy to photograph your subject straight on, right in the middle of the photo. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, but if you want to ante up your photography or capture the feeling of the moment along with the visual of it it’s worth mixing it up a bit. 

Try look at your subject from different angles. Right, left, up, down.. experiment and bend the "rules" to get more interesting photos. Move in and out, look around, maybe the better shot is right behind you.

 

Try a few of these easy additions to make your photos better:

  • Repeating lines/objects
 1/3200 sec at f / 2.2, ISO 100

1/3200 sec at f / 2.2, ISO 100

 1/1250 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/1250 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

 REPETITION || 1/2000 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

REPETITION || 1/2000 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

 REPETITION || 1/1250 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

REPETITION || 1/1250 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

  • Leading lines
 1/1000 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 400

1/1000 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 400

 1/1250 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100

1/1250 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100

  • No overlapping objects (give each important part of your photograph its own space!)
  • Frame your subjects inside organic frames (doorways, painting frames and arches are great for this!!)
 1/250 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 400

1/250 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 400

 1/500 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

1/500 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

 1/400 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 400

1/400 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 400

 1/250 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/250 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

  • Move your camera to block out any unwanted objects in your photo (like trash cans, other people and anything distracting.)

 

These are just some of the solid, easy to implement tips and tricks for photography that I talk about in The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s guide to Documenting Childhood, an ebook perfect for anyone who want to learn the basics of photography and improve their photos without spending hours and hours taking classes. Find out more here!

Get out there and try out some new ways to compose your photos! Share your photos with me over on Instagram in #TheAuthenticPortrait series, a series for learning and growing in photography.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with #TheAuthenticPortrait!