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How Composition Can Make or Break a Photo

We all have our unique styles in photography, and we get to choose how we express ourselves in our images. However, poor composition is one of the easiest ways to ruin an image and can take away from what you want to communicate in your photo.

I have a friend who is just starting in videography. Recently, he sent me a video he created and asked if I had any suggestions for him. As expected, the video looked like it came from a beginner. While there were lots of things I could correct him on, there was one major error that I knew would make a huge difference. During the entire video, he centered the subjects in the middle of the screen with significant space above their heads. I sent him some basic directions on composition and asked him to focus on only that in the next video. It’s incredible how changing composition can completely change the look of an image or video. His following video wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t have the obvious look of a brand new photography either. One small change made all the difference.

In the video above, photographer Nemanja Sekulic shares nine basic tips that will change how you approach the composition of your images. He covers everything from the basics of the rule of thirds to when to fill your frame or leave negative space. His content also applies to several different genres of photography. Whether you are a beginner who is just learning the basics or a more advanced photographer who needs to break out of the mold of the rule of thirds, this video is worth watching.

Levi Keplar's picture

Levi Keplar is a wedding and portrait photographer and educator. He currently owns and operates his studio, Katie & Levi Photography, with his wife and is based in the Wichita, Kansas area. He has a passion for both the technical and the business sides of photography and helping others to grow in those areas as well.

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Ansel Adams said: “The so-called rules of photographic composition are, in my opinion, invalid, irrelevant, immaterial.”
"And I’ll go one step further and say that in my opinion these rules are actually harmful because they get in the way of developing creativity and Vision."

some say there is a God, but believing that gets in the way of clear thinking too.