Photography Basics - Composition - mikecphoto

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Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens

(at time of writing)

Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography

WagJag (AT)

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The way you compose your photo will determine how interesting or useful it is for your audience or buyers. I have outlined some of the rules below...

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is where you split your scene into 9 squares. You then position the point of interest across the intersection of one or several of these squares. This is important if you are taking images that will be used in magazines or sold, as it adds copy space. Copy space allows designers to add text and other objects to your image. As well as allowing copy space, this helps prevent your image looking too busy and therefore it will look more professional. See below...

 ^ The Eiffel Tower has been positioned across the left two points.

Eiffel Tower at Sunset with copy space

^ The first picture with text

The picture can cross any of the intersections, not just so that space is on the top left or top right. See below...
Pleasant Bay Cape Breton

^ You can see copy space above the photo. Many aspects of the photo was positioned along the bottom thirds of the picture.

Leading lines

Leading lines is a technique that makes a viewer follow a path towards your subject. It is a powerful technique that can make some of the most visually appealling images.
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse
Breaking the rules

The rules can be broken. See below where the image is across the middle of the frame and doesn't cross any particular intersections.
Toronto Cityscape at Dusk

 ^ Copy space has been position below the image

^ In this image, there is no copy space, but the image is still interesting as the bikes lead away from the front. It's also good to have a gradual blurriness from the front of the frame as well.


Composition is fun, and one of the first things you should learn to take good photographs. It'll instantly make your images look more professional but also provide more uses for your images if you wanted to try and make some money from them. An agency I submit to is Shutterstock. You can read about how to submit to them here.

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