Basic Photography Composition Tips for New Photographers

Basic Photography Composition Tips for New Photographers

Photography is quite challenging, but one thing that will instantly improve your work is taking a moment to learn some basic photography composition tips. Photography composition essentially involves a few rules and guides to taking better photos.

Today I’m just going to go through some of the most important composition tips a beginner should learn. These are the rules I found to be most important in making vast improvements with my work, and I think any new photographer will see that as well.

Whether you are just starting out as a photographer or have been taking pictures for years, it is always good to refresh your memory of the basic composition rules of photography.

We’ve gathered these wonderful images from Get Refe to show you the various photography composition rules.

1. Rule of Thirds

Aligning objects to a certain grid in your photos will add balance and intrigue to your work. To do this, you must imagine your photo is divided into a grid of 9 equal parts, like the image below.

From there frame your image to adhere to these dividing lines both vertically and horizontally as best you can. You can also adjust the image to feature key elements at intersections.

rule of thirds photography composition tips

2. Leading Lines

As humans we are drawn to lines and symmetrical objects, therefore by taking photos based off of leading lines, it can help improve your composition. Common leading lines could include roads, train tracks, waterways, and other lines that can guide the eye through an image.

They don’t have to be completely straight though. For a more interesting leading line try a windy road or curved river. Find ways to lead lines to your subject or creatively tell a story.

leading lines photography composition tips

3. Patterns

Taking a photo that involves patterns can quickly draw people in. The contrast and pattern in the image below make it both eye-catching and different from the usual photos of a lake or pond.

Look for patterns in both urban and rural environments, you’d be surprised what you can find! Patterns can come about in the form of colors, shapes, unique alignments, and more.

patterns photography composition tips

4. Depth of Field

By adding depth or focus to your photos you can draw people’s attention to a specific object or part of a photo. In this case we focus on one particular flower in a tree full of them.

Practice depth of field to add intrigue to your photos, with a focused object and slightly blurred background. Shooting at a lower aperture will help you to add the depth to your photos and get increased blur. Depth of field works well with portraits.

depth of field photography composition rules

5. Point of View

Also referred to as viewpoint, your point of view can add a lot to the way your photo is viewed. Aerial shots, close-ups, and photos from far away all look interesting and different.

Take better photos by practicing different perspectives and viewpoints for a more unique photo.

point of view photography composition tips

6. Simplicity or Minimalism

Sometimes I find that by simplifying your images you can take much better shots. At times the more complex an image, the harder it is to understand.

Take a moment to look for minimal angles and shots and see where it takes you. Get some inspiration from our roundup of minimal photographers on Instagram.

simplicity photography composition tips

Here are just a few of the most important photography composition rules I found to help me. Remember, these aren’t strictly imposed rules and it is ok to break them. Composition rules are just helpful tools put in place that can help photographers when they are ready to take a photo.

What is your favorite composition tip or rule for photographers? Leave a comment below.

7 Replies to “Basic Photography Composition Tips for New Photographers”

  1. gahrrett says:

    awesome advice! thank you!

  2. Rezan says:

    ISO is an indication of the sensitivity of the sensor of your camera to the light. It is measured from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. ISO 100 is the lower sensitivity and 6400 being the higher. Shooting with the higher sensitivity such as ISO 6400 or ISO 3200 is useful in low light conditions. During a bright sunny day, shooting with low ISO, such as ISO 100 or 200 can be done.

    1. Mike says:

      Thanks for the information Rezan! I definitely agree with you and primarily shoot in ISO 100 during the day or with bright lights. At night I’ll usually bump my ISO up to 640 or 800. I have not experimented at ISO 3200 or higher though. Is there a lot of grain? What are the practical uses for that?

  3. Terry Parker says:

    What would be the ideal depth of field while taking a photo using 18-55mm lens?

    Can you please tell me why most peoples buy Canon and Nikon Camera.

    I have Sony A58. Should I upgrade?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Terry,

      The depth is really up to you. For portraits I typically shoot around 1.8 – 3.5 depending on the lighting conditions. Closer to 5.6 for the harsh light shots. For landscape it can vary depending on preference, but for sharpness many people use apertures of 5.6 or even much higher. Ultimately, it is up to you. I recommend experimenting and getting comfortable with a large range. Practice adjusting Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO to see the unique changes it makes to your images in various environments.

      As for the camera, I would recommend upgrading to a full frame camera when you are ready. That is the biggest difference from your camera. Though I do not have a preference on brand. Sony, Nikon, and Canon all make great full frame cameras. I personally use the Nikon D750 and love it. Upgrading to full frame helped improve my photography a lot! The camera is much harder to use and more advanced, so it forces you to learn the settings, experiment, and grow.

      Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *